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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    January 18, 2013
    2:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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i happen to know that the rich get it for their children, because i grew up in privilege. they tell me, they do not think i will tell you, but i will. they tell me, they do not think i will tell you, but i will. in new york city, the top eight preschools, that guarantee success in life, not just academic but social -- a number that can be plastered on your forehead and a standardized exam. the top preschools, they call them baby ivies. no pretense of a meritocracy. they cost $26,000. here's what i'm saying right now -- if i were the president,
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i would take all those billions of dollars being wasted right now on at the corporations, and i would put that money into three full years of the best preschool education in the entire world. if they cannot afford to do that, talk about $30 billion -- if we cannot afford to do that, i do not see what help we have upholding any sense of dignity, pretense of democracy, in the eyes of people in the rest of the world. [applause] >> i just have to add one thing to that -- one point i will add, to deny this to children is an act of thievery, but it is worse than stealing a car. this is an irreversible theft. you never get to live the second year of your life again. thatthis is it -- you get it
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once. then it is gone forever. i think the president fails to act on this aggressively, that dramatically, prophetically, to get this for us quickly -- i think is not just a budgetary issue. i think it is a theological abomination, a crime against the innocent. >> i agree. [applause] i say all the time, quoting -- the conversation could not be more timely. i sell the time, quoting dr. king, that budgets are moral documents. you can say what you say, but you are what you are. we know who you are when you put your budget on the table. we can see what your budget priorities are. could not be more timely. we are days away -- it will be a big party on monday, but after monday as we move toward the debt ceiling conversations
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and the spending cuts get placed on the table, the poor are likely to take it on the chin. that is why we are here with in washington tonight having this conversation. our hashtag is #povertymustend. our website is afuturewithoutpoverty.com. you'll find a letter on that website -- you can electronically sign it asking the president to give a major public policy address on poverty sooner than later, and second to convene a white house conference on the eradication of poverty to bring experts to get into crafting national plan to cut poverty in half and eradicate it in the richest nation in the world. it is not a skill problem, it is via upawe have the will to the poverty a priority with in this country?
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>> you have to have the real economy. but we have now? i am amazed -- you could talk about public education, we could talk about health care. everyone knows that a single payer health care system would -- insurance would cover everyone. insurance companies would be gone. cost, quality, access would be at a premium in terms of our ability to be a civil society if we had a single payer health care system. we could generate almost 3 million jobs, which would serve to stimulate the rest of the economy when you are building -- and actually taking care of the people. they know that in washington. viable. -- valuable. they just want to privatize it.
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i think you all doing a beautiful job -- the nurses appreciate you so deeply. honestly, the progressive caucus, the black caucus -- but one of the things that you said, and i completely agree, is that you have got to push. we have got to treat a movement in this country -- occupy was a moment. it needs to start up and keep going -- it needs to bring millions of people with it. the robin hood tax, the campaign the nurses have -- $350 billion a year from wall street for a minimum tax. you know what one of the legislator said to one of our nurses going to the capitol and talking about the wall street tax? she said, you nurses need to lower your expectations. the nurse looked at her and said, would you like for me to say that to you when i am prepare you for surgery? the true story.
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i mean, honestly, literally, it is a disgrace -- lower your expectations? i see what is happening out here every day. we're not going to lower our expectations. we're going to fight for a real economy. our economy has been hijacked -- we can talk about all the problems, talk endlessly about what i heard yesterday -- i heard about a woman yesterday. we heard about a real woman yesterday from michigan who actually chose to have her leg amputated because she could not afford the antibiotics in terms of taking care of her leg. she had her leg amputated because of money, because of money, because we do not have a health care system. it is a disgrace.
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the robin hood tax can generate $350 billion -- they have bipartisanship. they're keeping everything off the agenda that is important to us. they have bipartisanship on that. we cannot compromise our principles. we can compromise on taxes, the people have to say, line in the sand. learn that from the labor movement. say, this is a line that you do not cross. we want their jobs back. we want our pensions. we want to raise standards for everyone in america. nurses do not want to discriminate. we want a civil society. we want a society -- where is win in[applause] >> let me ask you -- roseann said something that got my attention a few seconds ago.
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it is the notion of whether or not as a society -- has the demos, have we lowered our expectations? police say to the citizens who in fact have lowered -- what we say to the citizens who have lowered their expectations -- there's always debate about what the proper role of government ought to be. i suspect it will have more of that in the coming days about what the proper role government should be -- what are our expectations? are they too low? some of my friends on the right will see the opposite -- the expectations of government are too high. talk to me about expectations -- what do we have a right to the world? >> i think it is important what they were saying about what should be done -- it is not theory, it is actually being done in countries around the world with demonstrated, proven results. every child in many countries in europe start out with that
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preschool. the results are that unlike this country, there is not hereditary poverty. it is proven -- this is not a theory. what you are saying about the health system is completely proven. our health system costs an extra $750 billion a year for exactly the same services that you would get in other countries. at the institute of medicine issued a report that the waste and fraud that comes from this for-profit system is 5% of national income, wasted. that sector owns washington. it is not clear -- that is what other countries do. we are just not normal. our politics got hijacked. >> but we are the greatest nation in the world -- is that notion of american exceptionalism. how can this be happening elsewhere and not be happening in the greatest nation in the world?
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>> one of the things the greatest nation in the world refuses to do is look at any other nation. >> exactly. i [applause] >> and to see what it is doing. you know, the turning point of this country was 32 years ago, almost to the day, when ronald reagan made a statement in his inaugural address that the solution to the government -- the government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem. if you believe that, do not the president, for heaven's sake. you had a president who was inveighing against government. presidents of both parties have basically continued this policy. we have no active programs to solve any of these problems. we know what the solutions are -- we're not going to pay for any of them. i'm telling you, sadly, it is getting worse. no matter what the agreement is in two months.
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we are squeezing -- the rich have gotten their way. the corporate sector has gotten their way. they do not pay. there is no money for this preschool. all the sectors alone and -- own and operate the congress, so we have overpriced systems, exactly what you say, schools that do not work. we have the least social mobility of any high-income country in the world now. we havewe have kids locked into poverty like no other high- income countries in the whole world. because you cannot get out of it for exactly the reason jonathan said. by the time they're six years old -- is so stark in the evidence. >> as jeffrey's talking now -- you recall last year when we had a wonderful panel about poverty.
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a wonderful panel last year. a great line last year -- there is a highway into poverty but not even a sidewalk out. there is a highway into poverty but not even a sidewalk out. that is the point -- it is so did, hard to get out. poverty is no longer color- coded -- this is not a black thing, not a brown thing -- this is an american catastrophe that is about -- dr. west and i, said the new poor in this country are the former middle- class. and that ofthat is what is happening in our society. >> thank you very much. it is such a rich conversation. i am glad to be a part of it. where to begin? no matter what your leanings are and whether you know about education or not, let's turn to some of the language you are talking about.
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ebb that theinvesting in very young children is the best investment you can make. it has the greatest return on that and the investment. we know that because the first years of life are the most important for cognitive, social, it and emotional development. you are only two years old ones. -- once. that is the most significant window of time. which brings me to the next point, yes, we have class warfare. those who are poor are completely left out of the national dialogue on poverty and take it hunger. that is a bipartisan effort, to keep people who are poor out of the national dialogue. that is why i work with low income women to be able to take photographs and provide direct
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testimony on their experiences with raising children in poverty, how to break cycles with poverty, and there are so many conversations happening. this concept of violence and betrayal. people have been silenced for so many years. poverty is solvable. they and expect nothing less. they are raising their children and they expect their child to in a be the president of the united states, a lawyer, a doctor, and they want the best education, the best type of food, a safe and affordable home to live. the women we work with are investing so much into their children. they are having to trade off paying for rent and paying for food, and trade off for whether they keep the lights on and pay for food. that is unconscionable.
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[applause] thank you. all of us can expect more. low income women should be included in the national dialogue. the women i have spoken with our genius. -- are genius. they are brilliant to survive in the united states today. they are so fantastic entrepreneurs. they are wise. they have a lot of grit. they are stronger than any of us on stage. it is a brain trust in america we are not utilizing. they should be part of the national dialogue at a part of the stage and being listened to in congress. not just the special interest lobbyists. [applause] >> we are going into the last hour of the program. we want to highlight the fight back. there are people in this
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country who are succeeding against the odds every day as they struggle with poverty. there are persons who will join us on the front row. they are already here. i will get off the stage and talk to them so we can hear from citizens, who are in this fight every day. we want to put a face on poverty. while you are talking, talk to me about what you make of the fact that the new poor are in fact the former middle-class. they make up every race, every ethnicity. when we talk about poverty, people think as the poor as those people. they are increasingly becoming us. people are losing their jobs, their 401k. >> we are in the middle of an economic disaster. andit is crushing people.
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it is very dangerous. it can zap their capacity. this is a big threat to the country. we underestimate the danger. jeffrey knows the story dramatically better than i do. loaning small amounts of money only to women in order to create who micro entrepreneurs. there are ways in which we say to people, the passive. -- be passive. we ought to be saying, if we could wave a magic wand and tomorrow have 6 million small businesses, one of the things we
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should seriously look at with tax reform is how do you replace the anti-poor, anti- small business tax. it is the first big hurdle to create a job. how could you design the equivalent for starting your own business? trying to reach out here and realize, every american could be an entrepreneur. passing so many laws and regulations and taxes that they kill the start up businesses in ways that are crazy. >> i have to jump in. thank you so much for talking about entrepreneurship. you were there, you were a part of that.
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there has been so much destruction to the assistance program. talk about rules and regulations. those are things your administration, when you were the speaker of the house, so many of those types of rules and regulations were built into the program, so much that they have not responded to the recession. it is only able to reach about 30% of the children who are poor in this country. an incredible increase in child poverty been. micro finance would may be a great way to insert into the system. if a woman is receiving cash assistance or food stamps and she happens to, may be working on the side doing hair and nails, housekeeping, child care. fantastic things.
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that $50 or $100 she makes on the weekend, god forbid she reported to the case manager because she would be criminalized for something that would be celebrated in this country. [applause] >> i agree with you. >> i want to tell you that would have been lovely if you could have thought of that 17 years ago. [applause] >> i wish i had. >> think of the damage done. >> he said i wish i had. he did say that. i have got you on the microphone. what you have just said now is wonderful. the fact she is agreeing with you is amazing to me. but hip-hop>> shocking. >> you were in the media almost immediately when this fiscal cliff deal was reached. you were in the media almost immediately, you were very
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disappointed, very upset at this deal that was struck. i got the sense you were spanking your fellow republicans for getting their clocks cleaned by mr. obama in that debate. tell me what you are upset about and is there some revenge exacted? >> we have very severe long- term fiscal problems. i think there is a lot more that is at the big banks door and the federal reserve's door. it is amazing neither party has been willing to look at the problems. we are faced with enormous long-term challenges on the fiscal side. i thought the whole process was wrong. i have a bias. i was speaker of the house. the idea that the senate at the
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last minute would write an entire bill, put whatever they wanted into it, send it over, and say, pass it as we wrote it. we will not touch it again. and the house said, ok. crazy. nobody read that bill. it violated everything republicans complained about with the stimulus. the minimum they could have done was brought it up, actually read it, maybe had a hearing to find out what was in it and what did it mean. there were millions of dollars willi understand why the president wants to take care of its friends. what did that have to do with the bill? a goody here and a few other goodies there. notrepublican senators wrote what they wanted. it is a bad way to run free society. >> we just passed a farm bill.
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my colleagues -- and i will call them that because i am in public -- voted to cut $16.50 billion over the next years. i voted against it because i thought it was outrageous. they voted against it because they did not think it was enough. we have people who literally work in the house of representatives who do not believe they are in poverty in this country. any of them, i want you to go to the other side of town to wherever it is you live. people believe if you do not work, you are lazy. these are the craziest people i have ever seen in my life. absolutely nuts.
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[applause] if we continue to send people to congress who do not understand what their job is, then we are never going anywhere as a country. these people are evil and mean. they cared nothing about anybody but themselves. [applause] >> let me ask you, though. i am really feeling sorry for you. i will push you higher up on my prayer list tonight. there are people who are
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entrenched in congress, they come from districts where this is not their priority, not their issue, so congress is polarized around the issue of poverty. there is a consensus poverty does not matter. congress is polarized on this issue. how do we ever imagine that the plot of the poor will get addressed. class getting these little blurbs. make them sit down, convene a group of people to address the issues of poverty. people out there have to stop being silent. anytime i get a phone call in my office, i believe at least 50 of my constituents believe the
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exact same thing. if you start calling your congress people and your senators and say to them, you want them to address poverty, trust that they listened very do not assume or be angry when you turn on the news at night and tourism at your television. it cannot talk to us. you have to do it yourself. if you don't, once again, every year, one of us takes the food stamp challenge. people get the news. until we get more voices, until more people understand how important and significant it is for us, they are going to continue to pat us on the head and say, your food stamp challenge week. until they see hungry people, until they see babies who do not eat every day, until they realize the fastest-growing
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group of children in schools today is hungry and homeless children, until we can make them see it, they will not believe it. >> that is a perfect segway. -- segue. for those who just tuned in, this is our hastag. #povertymustend. our website is afuturewithoutpoverty.com. you will find a letter. it is already written for you. encouraging the president to do things quickly. deliver a major public policy address on the eradication of poverty. we have been told over and over he is an organizer. it is time for the community to get organized and let the
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president know we want to hear we will from him, we want him to deliver a major public policy address on poverty. we can do this every day. this is no comparison between what we are doing and what would happen if the president of the united states gave a major policy speech on what he will do to eradicate poverty. and then he gave us an assignment to do to help him get it done. he ought to give a major public policy address. bring the experts together. i will not be in that meeting. i am not an expert. i am just a broadcaster to open up a whole for the experts to run through.
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a plan to cut poverty in half in the short run, eradicate it in the long run. if the president wants a legacy in which he and we can be proud, he will have to make poverty a priority in the second term. sign that letter and let him know about it. >> i do not want to be in that meeting, either. i would not go. at least a crack addict is honest about their addiction. the white house is addicted to power. they are addicted to power. it is not just about power. it has to do with love and justice. love and justice is always weak. that is precisely why tradition in this history of this nation
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has been the democratic loaf. we recognize we have to have a this is why i resonate with my conservative brothers. martin luther king jr. was under fbi surveillance until the day he died. government can be oppressive, vicious, ugly, violate your rights, generate propaganda. we need that, too. government can be affirmative, if they are helping poor and working people. government can help use its power for elites. when they come together with no accountability whatsoever, not just politically, but economically. let me say this. martin luther king jr. today could be taken to jail without due process or judicial process under the national defense authorization act because he had a connection with a freedom
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fighter, nelson mandela. he just got off the terrorist list in 2008. he had a relation to a terrorist. under the present administration, and you can take americans to jail without due process. the black freedom movement has always been suspicious of it. headwe have black prisoners in their precisely because they were willing to tell the truth that was a threat and we do not talk about them. that is why the culture of fear is not just violence. people are afraid. they are afraid to lose their jobs. they are afraid to lose their status. not going to be nice tea parties, the white house. you cannot have a culture of fear and generate a movement. it is not just about justice.
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we have got to talk about love. martin was a titan of love. if you are not talking about love and willingness of sacrifice, we are not going nowhere. you have to be willing to hit the streets, go to jail, to die. that is what it is about. if you are not willing to do that, keep your job and drink your tea. emergency. [laughter] [applause] people are dying out here. >> since you went there, this is foreign to a lot of people. martin has been gone for so long now. the nation knows the president will be sworn in for a second term on monday, on the martin luther king jr. holiday. just blocks down the street, the monument. the president will put the hand on the bible of martin luther
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king jr. as he is inaugurated. king is always present in our conversations. he is present tonight. if you raise this notion of love, since martin, the notion of love, and our public policy have been absent, you talk about and try to put love -- we heard about compassionate conservatives, i want to ask you whatever happened to compassionate conservatism -- but love, at the center of our public policy, it is a foreign concept. that is exactly what martin did. he put love at the center of the public square. why have we abandoned that notion? >> the rule of money. everybody and everything is up for sale. you cannot have integrity,
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love, you cannot have trust if everything and everybody is up for sale. if your leaders are up for sale, they will talk one way, get inside, and do something else. it is big money. for black people who have been hated for 400 years, institutionalized hatred coming after us, and we dish out martin king, that love in the face of the hatred, that is a spiritual and moral high ground. the whole country has to take note of it with martin. the whole world has to take note of it. that is what is weak and feeble. it is not a question of skin pigmentation. it is a question of equality and morality of your spirituality. all of us fall short.
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[applause] >> now it is competition. the president takes no child left behind, which is the worst education law in my lifetime -- [applause] straight out of charles dickens. train them for exams, do not let them -- they might start asking why politicians do not keep their promises. no talk of love. the president takes no child left behind and he softens it. a race for the top. there will be 12 winners.
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the word enterprise, i am a very patriotic american. i like capitalism. thatit is good to me. the word enterprise is sickening. it has had a pathological effect on our attitudes. these wall street guys who want to privatize our schools are setting up academies. dr. martin luther king academy of leadership and enterprise. or they will name them for langston hughes, frederick douglass. should let the name the schools. [laughter]
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[applause] they should name it for people they do not like. [laughter] here are a few points. i will be unfashionable tonight. everyone in washington seems to think the way to solve the problems in our schools is to not give them another cent, another penny, to improve and make the schools look like places that are inviting and respect the value of children. aesthetics count. do not do that, but beat up on their teachers. that is the trend today. [applause] attack the unions. i heard about the teachers union from teachers in l.a. last fall. i flew to chicago to stand with them the day they went on strike. they were right to go on strike.
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[applause] i will tell you something. i am in schools all the time. when i was a young teacher, i remember this. schools are overwhelmingly -- the teachers are women. you go to a convention, if you are a guide, there are like 50 women for every guy. it is wonderful. i love it. [laughter] when they scapegoat teacher unions, the ruthless way they do, they are attacking some of the largest unions in this country of devoted, unselfish, inspired, loving, tender, good, female human beings. they are women. it is an attack on female women. [applause] i remember dr. king's last words when he said i have been to the mountain. that mountaintop is something
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that is a symbol of hope. it is biblical. it is something we would like to get back to. we wish we could get there again. but the dialogue of school reform is just like the dialogue of health care. icayune. there is nothing transcendental in it. there is nothing courageous in it. they are tinkering around the edges of an equity. -- inequity. that is what president obama is doing. fix the schools, they say. fix the schools. a very suggested word. it is a mechanistic terms. as though our schools were out, and our kids were commercial commodities. i hate that word.
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here is what i believe. i think that is emblematic of the low level of dialogue. my favorite american poet happens to be langston hughes. i read his poetry to my fourth graders. it was considered dangerous. curriculum deviation, i was fired. i was hired shortly after by the johnson administration. [laughter] my favorite worldwide poet happens to be the irish poet. william butler yeats. there are lines many of us learn in school and forget. he said, the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
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we need that passionate intensity on our side, on the side of the poor children in this earth. i beg the president to summon up the courage to give us that voice. if he does not, it would be a terrible betrayal of his role and he will miss an opportunity to leave behind a beautiful legacy in history. it will be his tragedy as well as ours. [applause] >> we are clearly headed to a real debate about austerity. i do not believe austerity is the answer. some people do. there is a big debate in the coming weeks as we get to this debt ceiling debate. talk to me, from your perspective, about this notion of compassionate conservatism. there was a movement 12 years
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ago to present that as an alternative. what happened to that? >> i would be glad to go down that road but i do not think it is useful. to gently develop a real understanding of how to break through at every level, housing, learning, jobs. and who i always told people, as showered with more african- americans than most republicans knew, had a deep, passionate commitment with every american he met. his heart was big. he did love everybody, to a point where it drives you crazy. you think, slightly less love, jack, it is ok. the use of it by the bush people was a political slogan to show they are softer than the
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gingrich republicans. they did not think through any serious, systematic program. i want to commend you. sitting here, i had two ideas, sufficiently radical, that would never have occurred without this[applause] i did not say right or left. i just said radical. [laughter] one is talk about schools and talk about saving the children. then figure out what saving children leads you to, which involve nutrition, prenatal care, a lot of things. if you start with saving children, you somehow skip the bureaucracy and start back. want to say to the congressional head of the black caucus, i want to step away out here. >> i cannot imagine you doing that. [laughter] >> i was impressed with the intensity of your comments. [laughter]
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i think part of the challenge we have in america is the real dialogue that takes more than 90 minutes, or more than two and a here is my proposal, which i will carry to the republican side, if the congressional black caucus wants to do this. i believe the congressional black caucus members should offer to match up with a republican member, each going together to spend three days in your district, for example, and you spend three days in the republican district, and those days will lead to a conversation that will help us move back to help the by partisanship and help each side had a slightly different understanding, and maybe start to create french ships from which we could actually begin to rebuild the ability to govern.
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[applause] >> if you could make it work, i am in. if you could get your side to do it, i am in. that is a very good proposal. >> check it out and tell me how many of your folks are willing to visit. i will find republicans to make >> i love it. [applause] >> when you are all reflecting together, try to come up with strategies of how you can sever the link with those who control both of your party. [applause] >> i will let rose and say what she wants to say. my warning to the camera operators, i will walk in front of her to get out to the audience to talk to our special guests. they are everyday american
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people. the truth is americans, our fellow citizens, are doing the best they can with what they have and where they are. every single day. the fight back without government help coming through, on the evil of austerity is real. >> i was glad i was here. one of the things that is usually absent, there is an effort with the hon neo-liberal agenda, everything should be for sale, to vilify teachers,
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to vilify anything public. the corporations have been in control and this country is in disaster. i want to talk about the american labor movement, who is behind social security, one of the greatest anti-poverty programs. we have to have -- the president cannot cut care for the most vulnerable people in our society. medicare is such a critical program. also pushed by the american labor movement. the other thing it does is to set a new high for wages, living wages for people. benefits, pensions. if you can find a job in america, get past the terrorism corporations do. if everything were unionized,
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we would have wall street on the run. [applause] >> stand up, all three of you. turn that way. we will have a conversation for a couple seconds. i said to my staff that i wanted to make sure i talked to everyday people who can tell their own stories and own words trying to navigate their way through poverty. let me ask you to thank them in advance for their courage for what they are about to share to come on national television to share their story. [applause] i want to start with mary ann, who is willing to come on long national tv to share her story. some of us make bad choices in life.
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somebody say, amen. those choices put us in situations where you have to wrestle with poverty. there is always a better way. there is a way out. there is an end to poverty. some people to call and find their way out of the situations they put themselves and. mary ann is an authentic american hero. let me give her a couple seconds to tell her own story about being a substance abuser. as a result of those bad choices, finding herself deep in poverty. i want you to hear where she started and what she is doing now. take a minute and tell your story in your own words. >> first, i do not necessary believed it was a bad choice,
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as it was a symptom of deprivation. it came to me and we talked about love. i grew up in a middle-class family. it was not about money so much about love and deprivation. i ended up using heroin for 23 years of my life. at the end of my addiction, i was introduced to crack. i thank god for it. it hit me so fast so hard i hit rock bottom so they could treat me again. for the third or fourth time. i ended up getting myself together and going to a french culinary arts schools and vocational rehab. i landed in a place where i had an opportunity to work with men and women just like me. i worked every day. [applause]
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i had the opportunity to work every day with men and women also suffering from deprivation. they are not just homeless and hungry. they need healing. the approach is that holistic week, we try to empower our students, of which 90% are either coming back from prison and/or are substance abuse folks. there are an increasing number of people who come to us with mental health issues. we try to shorten the line. we prepare 5000 meals a day that goes to social service agencies that give the folks we were with the support they need. it is not just about jobs and education and housing, but healing as well. [applause] >> how about that?
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thank you. this is a conversation about self-sufficiency. your thoughts, a quick word about the choices or the lack thereof so many brothers and sisters have when they paid their debts to society. they come out and have that record and draw their efforts. they cannot get an opportunity. they cannot get a second chance. they cannot get their lives on track. >> that is what greatness is all about. some sense of service and love and self confidence and self- respect. i see it in you and feel it in your spirit. we have to allow that to spill over so it has to do with public policy. not just personal. i want to keep the focus on you right now. i salute you. [applause] >> this is tammy, a 20 year-old
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mother of one son. 21 now, excuse me. you are grown. [laughter] she found herself a teen mom. she is not the only one in this country and mary ann was talking earlier about the difficulty many young women have trying to navigate through poverty when you are a mother of a young child. she is a student at northeastern university and studying political science. this is the fight back we are talking about. please say a quick word about what it is like trying to navigate through poverty when you are a single mom and what you say to all of those single moms watching right now trying to navigate the same journey. >> thank you for having me.
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it is not easy to be able to come and leave my baby back. i was feeling sad. i did not want to leave him. this is a fight for plenty of women, and not only single mothers. single fathers out there as well that struggle just as much as i do. [applause] i know plenty of them and they struggle. picture this. you are a single parent, but you have to come up with a way how to feed your family, work at the same time to pay bills, and go to school to get an education to better your life. last year, i only made $8,000 the whole year. my food stamps were cut. that was the only way i was able to feed my son, $85 a month. the average family spends close to $500 or more. you expect me to spend $85 and
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live with that for my son. we had to be sent to a shelter because my mother no longer wanted us living with her. i had to pay rent at that shelter, get food stamps, have my own food in that shelter, and yet i was also a freshman at northeastern university. how was i going to do all of this at once? people ask me how i was doing this. you are an incredible woman. i am not. i am a normal person trying to fight for my son to have a better life than i did. [applause] i may seem extraordinary because of all of the things i have been able to do, but i am not. i am a mother trying to fight for my child. [applause] i am studying political science because i want to be up there in the future to show that they are the experts.
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[applause] most are through research. the true experts, counting myself, are out there. i want to be able to, in the future, show everyone else, counting the president, that statistic, that is not my name. i am not a statistic. i am an individual trying to make my life better. when you ask me how i am able to be a student, pay my bills, get food stamps, but you are cutting my food stamps, so i am not able to pay for food for my son, so, technically, you are taking the ability to feed my son, and then you ask me, how are you able to accomplish all of this? i say, thank god for someone
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like mary anna who is able to come and say, take pictures of what you experience, show other individuals what you face day- to-day, and i am able to tell other people they are not alone in this struggle. i am afraid every day what i am going to do every 24 hours and how i will be able to pay my bills. if i make 1 cent more, my food stamps will be cut more. and i will not be able to pay it all at the same time. i am on a scholarship but that can get cut, too. but you expect me to hold up a 3.0 for a 4.0 gpa on my own, trying to work, be a mom, and a student at the same time. but i am a statistic. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you. say a quick word. tell me more about this program. >> it is to break this silence. there is so much in the national rhetoric, so much shame and stereotypes about people who are poor. witnesses to hunger is about making sure women who are strong have an opportunity to speak back and participate. tammy is a great example. there are many people among us and all across the country who are witnesses to hunger. they need to speak up to break the shame. there is courage. thank you.
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they are amazing. >> that person is my mother. she is here tonight. there are two sponsors that made this possible tonight. there are a lot of resources to make this possible. thank you, c-span, for carrying this conversation around the world. i also want you to thank the foundation for being our title sponsor tonight. [applause] marguerite casey foundation. she is organizing young people to express themselves and raise their own voices about the conditions they find themselves in. you heard me offer those
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statistics earlier tonight about what is happening, poverty, in the state of mississippi. about. we are going to leave the session ran now. the house will be back in for legislative business on tuesday, trouble, p.m. eastern. that gives federal employees a pay incress and just some of the news coming out of the republican treat that informs virginia. the house republicans leaders announced a plan to raise the debt limit for three months.
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the long-term increase would be con ting nt on the senate passing a bill by april 15. 2013. i hereby appoint the honorable louie gohmert to act as speaker pro tempore on this day, signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend andrew walton, capitol hill presbyterian church, washington, d.c. the chaplain: let us pray. god of light and life, we give thanks for the gift of the day. a day which stands on the
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threshold of possibility and potential for the presence and power of love. love ensconced in every human at creation. love, which we are called to share with one another, as well as with creation itself. as we begin a historic weekend of service, celebration, and inauguration, fill us with your creative imagination to find our way to reconciliation where there is separation. to mercy where there is judgment. and to peace where there is violence. hold each of us, our leaders, our nation, and our earth in your eternal care. amen.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the chair will lead the house in the pledge of aa-- in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. at this time, without objection, the house will stand adjourned until 10:00 a.m.,
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>> when the house returns on tuesday you can watch live coverage on c-span. in washington crews are finishing up work on bleachers lining pennsylvania avenue and the snand front of the white house all for the inaugeral parade and some of the touches here a heated glassed in area where the president obama will is it to watch the parade.
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>> a look there at some of the preparations for this week end's inauguration. c-span's coverage kicks off as president obama begins his
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second term. on sunday he will be sworn in officially at the white house shortly before noon eastern and our coverage includes your phone calls and we will look back. on monday the public nauggral ceremonies at the u.s. capitol. we'll have live all day coverage beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time right here on c-span. you can also tune in on c-span radio and cspan.org. join the conversation by phone, on facebook and on twitter. >> friday night on c-span we'll show you inaugural speeches from the last 60 years starting with ronald reagan, bill clinton from 1993, dwilingt
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eisenhower from 1957, harry truman from 1949, then john f. kennedy in 1961. george h.w. bush, jimmy carter and we'll wrap up the night with george w. bush's speech. see ten inaugural speeches from ten past presidents on c-span. >> up next senate his torn don richy gave a historical perspective on inaugurations describing how various treated the day and how so help me god became part of the ceremony. this is about an hour. >> now there is a phrase that journalists use a lot. it's called a go to guy.
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and i think you know what that means. it means somebody who knows a lot about something that the journalists can go to and get from that person reliable information. and there are not that many go to guys around. there are a lot of people in this town who have opinions. there are a lot of people in this town who are incredibly glib. but there are not that many people who are so fundamentally immersed in a subject. and an important subject that journalists and others, ack demics are attracted to that person. in my mind, the best example of a go to guy is our next speaker don richy. i've gone to him. and more than that, i've received ideas even a little
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bit of inspiration in terms of my own work. he is the his torn of the united states senate and as such he is the keeper of the family jewels, of the history of the united states senate. it's glorious, interesting, frackous cooperative history. i've known don for many years as i've known his predecessor and i'm so pleased to have him here to talk about not the senate today so much as about inaugurations which after all is the reason why we're all here. so it's my great pleasure to present historian of the united states senate, don rich chi. >> thanks very much. that was a pretty tough act to
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follow but i'll try my best. we're about to have an inauguration on monday and the first question that comes to people's mind often in inauguration as they are standing or sitting in the cold waiting on the ceremonies to begin is we have separation of powers in this country. how is it that the president of the united states is being sworn into office on the steps of the capitol t legislative branch of the government. how did this all come about? it's not in the constitution. if you read the constitution it's sparse. it tells you the date and time the president is to be sworn in and the exact words of the oath but it doesn't say anything else. but yet we have this long two centuries of tradition built up around presidential
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inaugurations. it comes down to which came first, the chicken or the egg. and the fact is in 1979 when this brand new government was getting started the first part of government to meet was the congress. it was supposed to meet on march 4 but congress has a hard time sometimes establishing a quorum so it wasn't then they could do business. the first order of business was to dount electoral ballots. it was relatively easy it was unanimous that george washington had been elected president. the first thing they had to doffs notify washington he needed to come to take his oath of office. it took a little while for presidents of the united states in those days to get to wherever the federal government was so they had a couple of weeks to work things out. well the first thing they did was to write an oath for
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everybody else to take including the vice president of the united states. congress write it is oath that every other person who works for the government from military to judges to the legitimate tors. that is an oath written by congress and it's changed over the centuries. but the oath the president takes is unique. it's in the constitution and it's never changed. so the question was where are we going to swear in the president of the united states? well congress is meeting in federal hall on wall street. and it was a nice building. the house had the bigger room downstairs and the senate had the smaller room upstairs. and they said the president should be sworn in in our chamber. that was fine except everybody in new york and anybody who could get to new york wanted to see george washington sworn in. they couldn't invite everybody in. but upstairs they had a balcony.
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you come upstairs and we'll have the ceremony here and washington can take his oath out on the balcony. those decisions happened because they were logical. ever since then presidents of the united states have been taking their oath more often than not outside and the senate has taken the lead in running the inaugural ceremonies. vice president adams was the president of the senate at the time and he was a useful player in all of this because he had been the u.s. minister to england. one of the big questions came up there are no seats up here in the senate chamber. there are no seats downstairs. in parliament they have to stand up because there aren't enough seats and that adds to the drama of the day and the members can stand up for the ceremony. fortunately we have seats for the house and senate on the reviewing board. but when washington arrived there was a lot of co-motion.
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he was welcomed, his barge came across the hudson river. there were parades and fire works and activities. and since the parades were before and not after, washington came to the senate chamber, the house members came upstairs and then he stepped out on to the platform and there was no supreme court in those days, there was 2340 chief justice of the supreme court but the chancellor of the state of new york then gave the either of office. and so here is president washington just been sworn in. the crowd cheers and then he comes back into the senate chamber and delivers an address. and there is no mention in the constitution of an inaugural address. but presidents of the united states have been giving inaugural addresses ever since
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president washington led the presession. one of the observers said washington who was the great strong man of american history was trembling while giving the address. he was inside so the people outside didn't hear what was going on. but of course washington's inaugural address was reprinted in newspapers all across the country shortly after that. then in 1793 after washington's first term was over, he was elected to a second term. they were in philadelphia at this point. and so at this point washington gave the shortest inaugural address, relatively brief remarks, but still following on to this tradition. and still the u.s. congress was hosting this institution. now one of the strange things about the inaugurations and one that leads to controversy is that as i mentioned that the
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constitution writes out the oath of office. and one thing that the constitution does not say is concluding the inaugural oath with so help me god. and yet most presidents say so help me god. and part of that is because there was a tradition, there was sort of a follow k lore that developed that washington said so help me god. and we historians have been looking for whether washington said or didn't say so help me god. we're not sure about this. one of the accounts given by washington irving who was five-year-old at the time of washington inauguration. but years later he gave his remembrance that washington said so help me god. we just don't know. it's up to the president of the united states to say whatever he wants. most presidents in the 19th
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century did not repeat the oath, they just said i do. starting about the 1880's presidents began to say so help me god. it's interesting to me that the chief justice who swears them in says so help me god. if you're going to be a strict interter of the constitution it's not there. the president can say it. you wonder why the chief justice puts this in. it's become tradition. and tradition is even more important than constitutional structure in this process. but it's become a point of controversy. i should say that chief justices of the united states have been known to fumble the oath of office. it's different than all the others. and one reason why they do fumble is they are used to giving the oath but it's not the same oath. the oath we take as staff of the senate or military offices
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or the judges take is the oath written by congress. and that oath does end with so help me god. and in fact, the military oath that washington's troops took during the revolution ended with so help me god. so it was natural for washington to have said it t at that occasion although not required. i will say in defense of chief justice roberts he is not the first to get the words a bit confused. william howard taft swore in hoover in 1929 and that ceremony was carried over the radio . and a little girl wrote in to justice taft and said you got the words wrong. and i was listening to it and that's not the order of the words. and he wrote back and said i'm sure i got them right. and of course the news media played the tapes and discovered he reversed some of the words in the order. it does not make a difference
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if the cheer justice gets a word out of word or skips a word. the presidents in the 19th century and even hoover in 1929 just said i do in this process and that is certainly appropriate as well. we move down to washington, d.c. the first inauguration is taking place and it's the first time there is a change in party from the fed raists to the new republicans or democratic republicans who saw themselves more as the party of the people. and thomas jefferson was going to be naug rated and he did not want a lat of fold all with his inauguration. jefferson stripped away a lot of the formalities of the presidency that built up. he is about where the library of congress stands today.
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and he just walks across the street. and he's dressed fairly kassly. and he goes to the senate chamber. why? because it happened to be the largest chamber in the capitol at the time. the house was meeting in a room that is occupied by a single senator just to give you some sense of proportions there because the house wing of the capitol hadn't been built yet. and thomas jefferson went to the inauguration. he was sworn in uzz by his cousin john marshall and he was sworn in with byrd, one of his political opponents. it must have been a tense inauguration. then he delivered his inaugural address in a voice that was so low that most people in the room, and the room was absolutely packed, most people couldn't hear what jefferson was saying. thomas jefferson as president for eight years delivered two
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public speeches in the entire eight years of his presidency. one was his first inaugural address, and the second was his second inaugural address. washington and adams went to give their state of the union addresses in person. but jefferson thought this was too much like the king going to parliament. he was going to strip that away. you set precedent from doing things and from thomas jefferson on presidents did not go to congress to deliver their state of the union address. they sent it up for a clerk to read. they missed an opportunity to take some leadership over the legislative branch. it's not until 1913 that wilson gets elected president and he says there is nothing to prevent me from going up there. this will be a great way for me to present my legitimate program to congress.
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wilson starts going in person. he is delighted he thought of something roosevelt didn't think of. ever since wilson, almost alm presidents of the united states have taken the opportunity to go to congress in person. jefferson, as i say, was trying to down play a lot of the ceremony but he also understood the need for an inauguration. he understood the purpose of it. after a decisive election, it was one of the most devicive where everyone has to choose sides and the country is split up t inauguration is the moment we come back together again. this is not a presidential candidate in front of us. this is the person who was elected. this is the person who is going to lead this country for the next four years. we need to put aside the
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election and heal the wounds of this election. and so in his election jefferson says we are all federalist now, we are all republicans. we are all americans coming together and we are going to work together because the hope that every president has in his inaugural address. but that is one of the main reasons for having this great ceremony each time is to put a cap on the end of the election and to bring this nation back together again for the president's -- for the next president's term. well, now you've got the government in washington. they've established a certain amount of precedence. by the times james is naug rated the capitol -- jamings madison was naug rated there, both of his terms of president. james monroe would have been
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naug rated in the old statutory hall, the house of representatives at the time. he would have been naug rated there except the british burned the building down in 1814. british troops marched across and came down maryland avenue, burned down the capitol and white house and most other public buildings in washington, d.c. so they could not hold an inauguration back in the house chamber. instead they had built a temporary capitol across the street that became known as the old brick capitol and it stood where the supreme court stands today. it wasn't big enough to accommodate the crowds so he is naug rated outside on the steps. it was a good tradition but it didn't immediately catch on because naug races in those days were held on march 4. if you think the weather is bad
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in january, stay around until march. we had a history of bad weather on march 4 so most presidents preferred to be naug rated indoors. andrew jackson when he becomes president. adams is in the old house chamber. andrew jackson is the man of the people. he's the great hero. he fight that is last battle at new orleans we're about to have the buy centennial of. and he draws a very large crowd to washington, d.c. when he becomes president in 1829. so he stands outside on the steps of the capitol. and that begins a tradition from andrew jackson to jimmy carter of presidents of the united states standing on the east front steps of the capitol. if you've been to the capitol, the capitol's primary entrance,
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it's major stairs are the east front facing to us the supreme court and the library of congress. people think the other side is the front of the capitol. it has no back. because nobody wants an office on the back of the capitol. looking down the mall when is magnificent didn't look anything like that in the 19th century that whole west front wasn't established. so naug races were done on the east front. but that involved building a platform. because it got bigger and bigger because you were accommodating more and more people. in the 20th century you had to accommodate all the media and everybody else. so they not only built a platform for the president to take his oath on, but they had to build a huge platform across from it for the media. and it got so big in fact that
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anybody who wanted to see the inauguration couldn't stand behind it because it blocked your view. you had to stand on the side to see. they had to start building this in september before the election and that took up all the parking places. in those days members of congress used to park out there. they didn't like the idea they lost their parking places from september to january. the joint commilt tee on the inauguration which hosts the inauguration decided to move the inauguration in 1981 to the west front of the capitol. and this creates one of the great miths about inaugurations. and i guarantee you will read it in at least one newspaper out leth at some point during this inauguration. and somebody is going to say the inauguration was held on the west front of the capitol because since ronald reagan was president because he was a man of the west he wanted to face to the west as president.
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and he picked that side. now the problem with this is that the joint committee on the inauguration picked that site in june of 1980 and ronald reagan was nominated by his party until july 1980. the platform was under construction by the time the election was held in november. if jimmy carter had been re-elected he would have been sworn in on the west front. but ronald reagan was ronald reagan was smart enough to realize that he could take possession of this even though he did not order of this or choose this, he put it into his inaugural address. i am the first president to be looking west. i am looking out towards the pacific. he took ownership of that move
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from the east front to the west front even though he was not the person to choose it. this is an important lesson. ever since george washington came to the capital, congress has won the inaugural -- has run the inaugurations. that part is -- has been done by the congress. they start a year in advance, long before they know who is going to be nominated or elected. they start to make the plans, they pick a theme for the inauguration, they build the platform, they print the tickets, they get everything under way so that when somebody is elected in november, they can get everything done between november and january.
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for long periods in american history, the inauguration was on march 4. in january -- in 1933, the constitution was amended with the 20th amendment which moved the inauguration of up. now congress begins on january 3. the president is sworn in on january 25. -- 25th. -- 20th. usually, the joint committee is chaired by the chairman of the senate rules committee. it is cochaired by the speaker and it is done jointly between the two houses. traditionally, the senate has taken the lead and is quite a bit of that. they work with the staff of about 14 people. they have been dealing with this over the last year. there is a second inaugural
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committee and that is when somebody is elected president, the first thing they have to do is appoint their own inaugural committee. after the president leaves the congress, everything is taken over by the president's committee. they're in charge of the parade, they have a staff of 107 people. how come the congress is working with such a small staff and the president is working with such a large staff? everything we do with the capital is paid by the government. once the president leaves, his committee has to pay for everything. they pay for all the things related, -- all the things related to the parade and to the ball. they're raising the funds for private -- to try to underwrite what is going on. i mentioned the ronald reagan gets a lot of credit for moving the inauguration when he did not move the inauguration. but he did move the inauguration
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four years later. that was in 1985 when the weather was really fall in washington. it was below 7 degrees, it was a bitter cold day. the reagan white house, the night before looking at the forecast, thought it was cruel and unusual punishment to make people sit outside. they called the chairman of the rules committee and chairman of the inaugural committee and they said, we think it should be moved inside to the rotunda. he thought the best thing to do was to call his counterparts and that was tip o'neill and the congressional telephone operator tracked down the speaker in a bar when he was watching a basketball game and he said, the president wants to move his inauguration and the speaker said, it is his inauguration he should have a where he wants it.
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and they moved it inside. even though there was a desire of people to see this, most people saw on television. in 2009, but we were talking about the inauguration and someone said, if the weather is bad, we will have to move it inside. the architect of the capital asset i would be impeached. -- capital said, i would be impeached. there was a blizzard going on went william howard taft was inaugurated into that -- but they had a completely outside ceremony. it poured rain when herbert hoover wrote down from the white house to the capital, but they rode in an open car.
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a lot of inauguration's -- john f. kennedy had a blizzard the night before his inauguration. students from local university came down to shovel snow. anytime you talk to anybody who went to kennedy's inauguration, the first thing i talk about is the weather. it is the one thing that we cannot predict. we have this situation with the president being sworn in, but what about the vice president? it used to be there was a tradition that the vice president at his own inauguration. when the congress and the presidency is to begin their terms on march 4, the first thing that happened was that the senate and house would need to swear in their new members. the first thing they had to do was wherein their vice- president, who is the president of the senate. for a long time, a century, presidents of the united states used to go to the senate chamber
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to watch their vice-president be sworn in. the senate is to give the vice president a chance to deliver his own address. can you a bijan vice president by been given -- can you would imagine vice president died in getting the opportunity -- a vice president biden getting the opportunity to give his own address? his vice president was andrew johnson, who was the only -- who became the war governor of tennessee. poor johnson arrived at the capitol suffering from the flu. a helpful senate clerk poured
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him a shot of whiskey. and then another. and then another. he gave them a quick -- a completely inebriated inaugural address. lincoln was mortified. i unfortunately for johnson, it sets a public image of the andrew johnson. another burly disastrous vice- presidential inaugural address was calvin coolidge as vice- president. he used his address to tell the senate how they should operate. it set him off on a bad -- starting in 1937, that is when the congress started before the president. now president and vice presidents are sworn outside on the steps.
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the vice president lost his chance to give an inaugural address. there was one exception in that long tradition of the inauguration speech tell that the capital. that was in 1945 when franklin roosevelt was being sworn in for a fourth time. franklin roosevelt, his third inauguration was done at the capitol, but his fourth one was in the middle of world war ii. he felt this was not the inopportune time to have an elaborate inauguration. he decided on his own to move the inauguration to the south front of the capital. the joint committee was not happy with that decision. the president of the united states can decide above and beyond the date and the time everything else is tradition and can be changed.
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we reverted back to holding inaugurations at the capitol. we moved them from the east front to the west front and the crowd has been getting bigger and bigger. one reason on the west front is that you can accommodate more people. if you look at the photographs of the last several inauguration's, you can measure the crowd by how far it goes back. when ronald reagan was sworn in, the crowds went back to a block beyond the reflecting pool. with each inauguration, at the crowd gets a little bit further back. until 2009. there were so many people, they went all the way back to the washington monument. there were least 1.5 million people crowded onto the mall. one of the coldest days in washington. yet it was a nice atmosphere on the mall. but the most remarkable things,
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but there was not a single arrest made that entire day of anybody involved in the inaugural proceedings. they do need to have a lot of medical assistance because people standing outside for that long, there is always somebody was going to collapse. they bring in trailers with doctors and nurses to be able to treat. despite the fact that we have increased security, it was a very peaceful day. not everybody always agrees with an inauguration. there are always dissenters. the secret service and police reserve spaces outside along the parade route for groups that they called the first amendment groups. you have the right to peacefully demonstrate and to -- to speak out and to assemble.
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i can recall some inaugurations during the vietnam war where there were demonstrations and protests regardless of what the assigned areas were along the way. everybody, from the president to his opponents, everybody sees some importance and the ceremonies involved. the other change that has happened, by the way, is that more people get to see it who are not in washington. in the 19th century, you read about it in the newspaper. starting in the 1920's, you could listen on the radio. starting in the 1940's, you could watch it on television. now it is web cast around the world. the audience for the inauguration is enormous. that is an important moment for
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the president because it is his moment to speak to the entire country and to the entire world. inaugural addresses tend to be more eloquent and they tend not to be as specific as state of the union message. the state of the union message is a laundry list. i would like this, this, at this from you. lincoln's was carved on the wall of his monument. john f. kennedy's is particularly memorable. another -- other addresses have not risen to that level. and then the question comes about second inaugurations. the big excitement is for the first inauguration. been why should they do it? why do we need all this
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ceremony? we should go back to thomas jefferson. it is still an important moment. if you looked at recent history, less than half of our presidents have the opportunity to have the second inauguration. the ones who do often have a clearer sense of what it is they want to accomplish. when they're coming into office, they want everybody to love them. after four years, there may -- they have a much better sense of what their administration is about. the link in its first installment -- inauguration, he is begging people not to fight this war. the second inauguration, have begun to heal the nation? -- how are we going to appeal the nation? and other second inauguration that is memorable as franklin roosevelt bird in 1933, franklin roosevelt did not know what the new deal was going to do.
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by 1937, franklin roosevelt knew what the new deal was about. his second inaugural address was much more specific. one-third of the nation still ill fed and ill closed. the mission needed to be continued. second inaugurations are much more pointed as far as the president is concerned. what should you look for on this inauguration. it is going to be a coming together. it is going to be the legislative branch hosting the executive branch. large numbers of the diplomatic corps will be up on the platform. huge numbers of the public will be there to see what is going on. the fact that congress continues to hold these inaugurations is a
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sign of this coming back together. national unity, this moment of national unity and we suspend all of the political fight and we swear in this person who is going to lead desk for the next four years. -- lead us for the next four years. i never like to predict the future. the only thing i can say, i will live civilly project that tomorrow -- monday's inaugural address will end the way i will end right now, which is thank you, god bless you, and god bless america. [applause] i have been asked to open the floor up for questions.
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>> i am a history major. i was wondering as a historian, how do feel when politicians misinterpret the philosophies of the founding fathers? what do think the founding fathers would think of the government today? >> everybody seems to think they know exactly what james madison had in mind. thomas jefferson was not at the constitutional convention. he felt left out of that. we have a lot of people who were convinced. even the founding fathers were not absolutely certain. there are a lot of things in the constitution that came about as compromises. it bothers me a bit when everybody says, this is what the founding fathers meant. we historians are not certain what the founding fathers meant. we have to make a good-faith effort. we go to the federalist papers and their diaries.
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u.s. about what they would think about the government today -- you ask about what they would think about the government today. they would be surprised at about how much the government still resembles the government drafted. the u.s. senate has every power that was given to a by the constitution in 1789. almost every other government in the world has taken power away from the upper house. the u.s. senate and the u.s. house retain exactly the powers they had. the presidency has grown, but they thought the presidency needed to be a strong institution. that is the reason they rallied behind george washington. what would astonish them is not the functions of the government, it is the size of the government. and the size of the country. i think it would take away their
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breath. there would be astonished at the salaries. i think they would go back, noting that our constitution's has only been amended 27 times 11 of those amendments for by the very first congress. >> thank you for coming here today. hideous think -- the jcc or the pic? >> i am more loyal to the jcc. we call them the breadth of the in committee. they go away and they reappear every four years. they began a year in advance and
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then they start working their way through this process. i have been to a lot of the joint meetings. it is like planning the day -- d-day. it is a phenomenal practice and they do really well. to give credit to the president's committee, they do not have anywhere near as much time. they hit the ground running. people who are running the second inauguration are the same people who ran his first. they know the ropes. it will be hard for the next president who comes again. the one thing they all find in the end is that there is an enormous demand for tickets. the matter how many tickets you print, there is greater demand beyond that. trying to satisfy the needs of all the people there. they have tried to accommodate the crowds by putting them very large screens along the mall and sound system so that you can see
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and hear things. they promise to be a -- an adequate number of porta-potti es. >> my name is tyler from the university of san diego. how was this inauguration going to be different from the first inauguration? what can we expect to hear from you -- hear from him during his address? >> it will not be as dead. they count the number -- it will not be as big. it is not running anywhere near as big as it was four years ago. that is part from -- for the course for second inaugurations. they do expect the crowd will be larger than the average crowd. it will be very hard to me that 1.5 million from before that.
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for what the president says, my suspicion is that to the second time around, at president has a much better sense of what they can do a much want to do. i suspect this will be much more specific goals as to where he wants to lead us. it will be interesting to see what he has to say. i have not spoken to his speech writers. >> my name is kimberly. i am interested and knowing and hearing about what you think the most significant development is in the history of the inaugurations. >> the media developments, the fact that inaugurations are now so internationally broadcast is really the most important part of how they have changed over time. when you think about -- everybody wanted to see george washington, but there were not that many people who could get
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to new york. even andrew jackson, by the time you get to railroads, people were shocked by the large number of people who came to see enter jackson. -- to see andrew jackson. you can watch this worldwide, you can sit at your computer. that is the most significant change. >> i had the pleasure of meeting you on the senate floor when i took a trip. ever since that day, i've had the same question going on in my mind. he came out with a book defending the filibuster.
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we wanted to know how exactly you feel on the filibuster because throughout all of our experiences, we've only heard by the filibuster should no longer be used. >> it is interesting. there is the division between the look -- political scientists and historians. what is wrong with it and how can be fixed? the job of the historian is to let the system and say, how did it this way? we tend to be a little bit more tolerant and less active in suggesting changes. i did an oral history with a former parliamentarian and he said the rules of this and are perfect. if they change every one of them, at the rules of the senate will be perfect. the senators have exclusive control of for writing their own rules. if they want to change them,
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they will change into effect whenever their circumstances are. the senate is a frustrating and cumbersome organization. it has been that way since 1789. one of the first senators complained that somebody was trying to talk a bill to death. it is a tactic that has developed. the constitution said each house can write their own rules. the house is a very big body and to get any kind of control, they had to write the rules so that the majority can prevail. as long as the majority sticks together, they did not have to talk to the minority, and they usually do not. you come to the senate and the rules of the senate had given much more muscle to the minority. sometimes is the minority party and sometimes it is the minority faction and sometimes it is one single senator.
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that has created some balance between these two bodies. it is easier if you are a strong majority leader and a strong speaker in the house to ramrod or program. every senator majority leader is under a lot of burden to get this uncooperative organization to work together. take a look at this last congress. because of the -- they have to forge bipartisan compromises. and so they did, the senate was able to pass a farm bill, a highway bill, a post office bill, and fiscal cliff. and the house, which is supposed to be able to operate more efficiently, they did not pass any of those things.
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only's the fiscal cliff because the speaker said, everybody can vote on it. the reason is because they have majority rule, people look on as a sign of weakness if the speaker of the house has to go to the minorities parties for support. the farm bill did not pass, the housing bill did not pass. even though those are generally supported and people are waiting for the farm bill to pass. this filibuster did not create the budget gridlock. i am not sure. there are a lot of things that the centers are going to try to work out. -- senator is are going to try to work out. they will see some modifications. i do not think they will be hugely drastic. i do not think the filibuster is
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going to go away. they will try to get over some of the speed bumps in the process. you have a terrific professor. his interview is on the senate website. >> i endangering in politics. my question today is, -- i am majoring in politics. is it reasonable to believe president obama as a second term will be similar to his first even though the same crisis still exists? >> the one thing you can say about a second terms is that they're full of things that are totally unprotected.
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-- predicted. you would think about point that he was completely in charge. the first thing he did was to ask for increasing the size of the supreme court. that divided the democratic party. he got much less support from congress during his second term. and then the war started. none of that could have been predicted the moment he took the oath of office. richard nixon took the oath of office after winning a huge victory in 1972. in 1973, he was on top of the world. a year and a half later, he was resigning. a lot of things you cannot predict that will happen. it is how will a president can respond. you hope that presidents are much more control of what is going on and they can respond quickly. the circumstances are going to be beyond their knowledge at
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this stage of the game. i'm afraid i cannot predict. second terms have not been productive as first terms. ever since the 20th amendment, the present cannot run again. he can put his support behind put his support behind somebody, and that will presumably be a strength. but politicians and members of congress are all calculating on that. the president is not going to be on the ballot with than the next time around. it remains to be seen, in other words. >> i study economics and marketing. with the change in time and the change in culture, i feel that we view the inaugural address as a grand media spectacle instead of focusing on the credibility of the oath taken by the president.
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do you see it as a spectacle out? people coming and having fun there? or is it taken seriously? >> thomas jefferson trying to make it not a spectacle, but it has always been that way from the beginning. there is a point in any civic life where you need have spectacle. the person that understood that was ronald reagan. he spent his career in hollywood and he had a sense of showmanship along the way. the first time i saw him was on the steps of the capital in 1980 when he came to film a television commercials for the republican candidates for congress. and he was the only one that remain in character, paying attention to the speaker troubled bank. everyone else reverted to their normal state.
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this guy will be tough to beat. as i said, he took possession of his inaugural by being the first one on the west front. it is a huge amount of spectacle in celebration that worked really hard for the president as a candidate. but what did the president actually say during the inauguration? the other thing history remembers is what the weather was like that day. and they are looking for a moment in the weather. i can't imagine how many i have read without dark and gray was, but just as the president began to speak, a ray of light came through indicating there was a vote for the future. we are looking for a hope for the future for the next four years. there is substance to it, but
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there is a lot of partying that goes a long as well. >> i would like to ask a question regarding legacy. you mentioned and jackson was a man of the people. given the great deal of support that president obama had received in the 2009 inauguration, what will we expect to hear from him that might define or establish his legacy on monday? >> a very good point, residents of the united states can't campaign again, but they campaign for history. they get very conscious of their role in history, what will they be remembered for? it is interesting, the president that either did not get a second term or whose second term was considered disastrous often wind up campaigning even harder.
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some of our presidents have been great ex-president, working hard to establish that kind of historical legacy. i think president obama will use that opportunity to try to find what it is and how you want people to think of them not just now, but in the future. and king has just had a monument built to him. 50 years ago, 1963, king gave his speech on the steps of the lincoln memorial. there will be some connection to that in the process because this is the fulfillment of what he looked for. but what is left, what needs to be done? it is part of the president goes the thinking. .- the president's thinking we always get king's birthday
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off and the presidential inaugural off. have bet on they tuesday? the question is, why didn't we have that on sunday? we never have a formal outdoor ceremony on sunday. the sense is that presidents will be sworn in privately on sunday but the ceremony is held on monday. it is a wonderful coincidence that he is being -- it is being held on martin luther king's birthday. >> we have had speakers talk about the current polarization of congress. i am interested to know, what do you think about the polarization of congress? how can we bridge the gap going forward? >> i think one of the reasons it is polarized is that the political parties have changed
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dramatically in the last 30 years. in 1976, both parties were internally divided. each party had a liberal and conservative wing. you had some republicans that are more liberal than most of the democrats. every vote was bipartisan because they voted to try to get people in the middle to swing their way back and forth. political scientists think it is terrible. it should be more like parliamentary parties. i would say be where what you ask for because you will actually get it. both political parties have become much more internally cohesive and they're much more like parliamentary parties right now. the reason for this is the southern states migrated from the democratic party to the
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republican party. that made the republican party more conservative than the democratic party more liberal. the party leaders worked very hard to keep their conferences together. that means there is less middle ground to a pullover. in those governments, the parties face each other and they yell at each other. they're quite rude to each other. we don't expect that from the u.s. congress. they have not evolved to meet this sort of situation so we have to face the new reality. much of the polarization is the external because of the people that get elected. >> my question to you, we are a
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nation separated with church and state. what are your thoughts of the bible and using the word god and history? >> not only did washington have a bible, we still use his bible for some inaugurations. but after his inauguration, the congress voted to have a church service and then went across to the chapel. there was argument because not everybody was episcopalian but they went ahead and went to it. would that be a violation of the first amendment? there wasn't a first amendment until 1889. it was what he and his colleagues felt was appropriate on this occasion. presidents choose what to do in since franklin roosevelt, presidents have usually gone to
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a church service before their inauguration and it is personal to them. members of congress will choose either a family bible or historical level. -- bible. there was thomas jefferson's copy of the kuran. hindus were sworn in in congress. so help me god is another issue. there is probably no problem with the president saying that, but was the chief justice? i am sure every president would say that regardless of what the chief justice had to say. >> i attended miami dade college. what led you to be head historian and what is your
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favorite part about being one? >> i became a historian because i like political history. it is something i stumbled into, i was writing a biography of a man and discovered to my surprise that he had done a very long oral history, 700 pages. the person i was writing about had been dead for 10 years and he had been telling me about his childhood, his life, and he left out any mention of his family. either his wife for the messy divorce. he did not mention his children or the income tax cases. i was able to verify pretty much everything he had said, but i needed to know more. they started interviewing his widow, his children, the person that prosecuted him, and i got
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to interview his psychiatrist. it changed the nature of my research and made my book much more interesting. the senate created the historic office in 1975. i have been doing oral history since the senate staff in 1976. explaining the arcane rules of the senate, sitting down with staff directors. and you can evaluate the various centers, i recently interviewed a man that spent 22 years as a staff member. asking which was harder. been chief of staff was much harder because you wake up worrying about things.
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i had a chief of staff that was doing that for me. and being able to put it out, which is a throw to me when i see a historian citing. we used a lot of interviews and i get a great sense of pride at any time i come across in ". i am glad it is there for people to use. [applause] >> the word encyclopedic does not do justice to don ritchie's knowledge of the senator or constitutional history in general. we are delighted to have you, we
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will take a five minute break. really, five minutes. >> i, barack hussein obama do solemnly swear -- >> this weekend, the inauguration as president obama begins his second term. the official swearing-in ceremony before noon on eastern. it begins with a look back on the 2009 inaugural address. and monday, the public inaugural ceremony staring at the u.s. capitol. in live coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. eastern time. and throughout the day, join the conversation by phone, or facebook or twitter.
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>> as the inauguration coverage gets ready to kick off, we get a look back at inaugural history and a look at the memorial right off of the national mall near the lincoln memorial where dr. king delivered his i have a dream speech. locals and students and visitors, c-span cameras are at one of the locations. the number of reports an estimated crowd in town of about 600,000.
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the secene today, dr. king's image carved into teh stone of hope out of the mountain of despair. president obama will be resting his hand on to bibles. the one belonging to president abraham lincoln and one that reverend king used on the road for inspiration and preparing services. earlier this week, representatives from the inaugural committee, the joint congressional committee and the u.s. capitol police held a news conference about the inauguration day preparation.
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they talked at the national press club for about 50 minutes. >> thank you. thank you very much. and thank you press club, for hosting us today. this is going to be a little bit of a dance. there is a lot of different players that are involved in the events that will be taking place over the next few days. my name is brent colburn. i'm the communications director for the presidential inaugural committee. and we are involved in this weekend, doing a lot of the public events that fall outside the official swearing-in, which matt can talk to. in fact, as i kind of think about this, it may make sense to do this in sections. matt, if you want to walk on this. the three main groups that really put this together is the
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pick and we represent the president and vice president's equities in there. we are a governmental organization that is set up every four years to represent the president and vice president's views. we worked with the j.t.f. on the parade and the official inaugural ball and some of the other events that you will hear about, the national prayer service and the kids' concerts. and official swearing-in pieces and j.t.f. which does the military piece of this the colonel will talk about from a support stand point. and thank you to our law enforcement partners who are represented by the d.c. police department today. and there is a huge law enforcement presence to keep us safe over the next four, five days. matt, do you want to talk about what you guys will be doing.
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>> good morning everybody. miami matt house, i'm the press secretary for the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies. our purview is primarily everything happening on capitol hill. staff has been involved in planning our activities for a year. the inauguration preparations begin the minute the previous one ends. the rules committee in the senate has been hard at work preparing for monday and i wanted to talk very briefly about our theme for monday and walk through some of the components very briefly and i'm happy to answer additional questions at the end. the theme for this year is faith in america's future. a theme that was selected by chairman schumer and spent a lot of time talking about it. this marks the 150th year since
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the completion of the capitol dome with the statue of freedom being placed on the top. the project began in the 1850's and stopped midway through when the civil war broke out. and there was a question among congress and the president as to whether we could fight a civil war and finish the dome. president lincoln said if people see the capitol going on, it's a sign that we intend, the union shall go on. congress came together and were able to complete the capitol dome in the midst of the civil war and senator schumer selected this theme knowing that we have challenges that we face as a country now. but if you look back what we accomplished 150 years, we can find faith in america's future and overcome obstacles. these are the remarks throughout the day and in some of the program material to folks who will be seeing the ceremonies and you will see in various elements throughout the program. the day for our committee really begins at 9:00 when the members head to the white house for a coffee and tea with the
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president. senator mcconnell joins that group. from there, there is coffee with the president, vice president, the first lady and dr. biden as well. everyone begins to make their way back to the capitol at 10, 10:30, depending on how the coffee and tea proceeds. our members come and they are there and get ahead of the president. they'll greet the president and senator schumer as they come in on the senate side of the capitol at 10:40 and everyone goes into the capitol and we start the proceedings out with dignitaries, and it begins at 11:00. it proceeds for 30 minutes when the president is introduced out onto the platform. senator schumer opens the ceremonies with a few remarks and brent will talk about how
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the program proceeds from there. from folks coming to the mall to watch the ceremony or the ticketted area, we will be opening the doors at 7:00 a.m. and advised everyone to make sure they are there by 9:30 to make sure there is time for screening and everyone can get flew to their ticketed place in time to see the festivities. we have a number of crowd management strategies to improve on of the systems that were in place last time because of the issues people experienced trying to get into the ceremonies. we have planned for many, many months for crowds of all sizes. we think we have a great system in place to make sure everyone who has a ticket or coming to the nonticketed area on the mall can see the ceremonies. i will go into that during the question and answer session. >> thank you, matt. just to complete a little bit what the monday portion will look like at the capitol. senator schumer will welcome us as the chair and we will begin a run of show, if you will, for
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the inauguration day for the ceremonial swearing-in. vice president biden will administer the oath of office. the first latino justice to do a swearing-in for a president or vice president and fourth woman. and that will be done on the biden family bible, same one used by vice president biden four years ago and used throughout his swearings-in as senator. james taylor will sing "america, the beautiful" and president obama will be administered the oath of office. it is done by supreme court justice john roberts and two bibles used this time. first is the lincoln bible, this was used by the president four years ago and same bible used by president lincoln when he was sworn in for the first time in 1861 and that will be on top of the king family bible
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which has been provided for this ceremony by the king family. kelly clarkson will sing "my country tis of thee" and there will be a poem read. we are excited that richard bla nmp co will be -- blanco will be joining us. reverend louis leon will be overseeing the traditional st. john's service that kicks off the president's day on mopped and will be offering the prayer and beyonce will be singing the national anthem. these historic bibles, and they are symbolic bibles as we head into the 150th anniversary of
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the emancipation proclamation and with that, i would like to hand it over to our partners and talk about the inaugural parade, which will take place after the lunch that matt discussed. >> thank you. i'm colonel michelle roberts. and our task force has the responsibility for planning and coordinating all of the military ceremonial support for the inaugural activities. once the luncheon is complete, the president and the first lady, the vice president and the second lady will be escorted out to the east front of the capitol, where they will be greeted by the commander of the task force and he will escort them down the steps to take the review. and the review is presidential escort unit which is comprised of approximately 380 service members.
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followed by each of the service honor guards and the u.s. army band as well as the marine corps band. and they will go past the president's location on the steps on the east front of the capitol. and once they complete the pass and review. then the presidential escort, they fall into the motorcade and they start the parade route. along the parade route, we have approximately 2,300 military personnel participating in the parade. approximately 10,000 total personnel in the parade. and the way the parade is organized, there are five divisions in this parade. each division is led by a service component. so division one will be led by the army. division two, by the marines. division three by the navy.
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division four by the air force. and division five by a mixture of the coast guard and merchant marines. and essentially, it's comprised of military bands. service elements that represent the active reserve and national guard components and followed by the civilian groups that have applied to be in the parade. along the entire parade route is the military cordon. that is comprised of 1,500 service members from all services. for the activities at the capitol, we have approximately 800 military service members there performing various functions from the presidential escort to bands, to the herald trumpets, the presidential salute battery, usual shears and military -- ushers and military assistants.
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>> what branch of the service are you in? >> i'm army. >> colonel roberts did not give the j.t.f. credit for the work they do. it's not just the parade piece. there are people that work on this inaugural weekend for months and some cases up to a year beforehand preparing for whomever is elected in november and someone who participated in the inaugural for president obama four years ago and we had no idea what we were doing, i can tell you the folks, regardless of who the chair is and the folks at j.t.f. are there ready for you when you walk in the door and do the
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logistical lift. we make sure the president's imprint is put on one of these events. in the parade as the colonel mentioned along with all of these military elements, there are 58 different groups. 58 different groups, floats and vehicles. these are from all 50 states. they are everything from the virginia military institute just across the river in virginia, down in southern virginia, which has marched in a number of inaugural parades through a group of maine of unicyclists, which are called the jim dandies. they will pass review in front of the white house. the president will stand and watch the entire review and enjoy the parade along with thousands of folks who will come down and be watching from along the parade route. once that ends, the president goes inside and the official part of his day is done. and he gets ready for the inaugural balls. as you have seen and reported,
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there are two inaugural balls this time. the first is the commander in chief's ball. it is a tradition that was started by george bush that we have continued. and chance for us to honor our partners in the military. and i know j.t.f. has been included in the selection process for the individuals that will be attending. mostly enlisted personnel from all the branches. and then second larger inaugural ball. i will be happy to answer questions about that inaugural ball as we get into the question and answer portion. before we go into the saturday events, i want to invite our partners from capitol police, security not just for monday but the entire weekend of activities. >> good morning everyone. my name is officer antrobus. i'm the public information
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officer for the united states capitol police. i will repeat it. my title is public and information -- public information officer. i am an officer. no worries. the united states capitol police, our responsibility in conjunction with our law enforcement partners is to ensure the safety of those attending the inaugural ceremonies throughout the weekend. we want everyone to enjoy the democratic process and this historic day. with any of that that occurs, safety is our number one priority.
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safety and security for potus, ists, etc. -- guests, etc., not carried out just by us. the partnership we have established to create a robust, multifaceted security plan has been in the works for many months. while i cannot go into detail security plan, please know we have trained extensively to address any issues during the day. questi>> thank you, officer. i appreciate that. as someone who did securities and communications, i can tell you that, during the q&a, the
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officer has the easiest job. he gets to say i cannot tell you that. that her day is a big day for us. two traditions were started in 2009 by the first family, the national day of service and the kids' art girl concert. -- inaugural concert. chelsea clinton has joined us this year as the honorary cochair of the day of service. she will be appearing at the mall event. it is in the incredibly large tent. she will be joined by a number of celebrities, including efvva langoria, ben folds, as well as 100 organizations from across the capital region that do service.
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folks will be able to go down and talk to these people. it is a fair-type atmosphere. we will have events in all 50 states. we are on track for over 2000 events across the country. this is the first inaugural committee that has paid for staff and all 50 states are it this is a priorit. this is a priority for the first family. once we wrap up on the mall come a there is one event on saturday evening, the kids' darker oh children's concert -- inaugural children's concert. it is extension of the work they have done with the armed forces initiative. this will take place at the
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convention center. we are going to be announcing details on talent in the coming days. we put out an initial list of talent that will be appearing at either both the balls or one or the other. as you can imagine, this is a logistical list. over half of the audience will be made up of military kids. this is a great place to honor the sacrifice of the men and women who serve and the families that support them. on tuesday -- i am jumping ahead of what we just discussed -- will also be the traditional prayer service taking place at the national cathedral. the first and second family will attend. this is a tradition that is part of most inaugurals. we are still working with the cathedral on who will be there. the president will attend. it will be a nice way to off the
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four days -- to cap off the four days. i am sure you all have a number of questions. i am making sure i did not miss anything. i think that is about it. i am more than happy to open it up to questions. i would be remiss if i did not say thank you to all of our partners, as well as our law enforcement partners who have done a fantastic job. >> one item of housekeeping before we go to q&a. if i recognize you to ask a question, if you could identify your name and news organization. we will try to get to you as many as we can. as >> nbc news.
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we are a little more concerned with media. can we expect improvement on that front? >> short. -- sure. we will be issuing media guidelines in the next day or so that will make clear the movements that we have been planning for many months to accommodate all of the individuals who are credentialed for the event. everyone should be on the same page as far as where folks can and cannot go. we are also making accommodations to folks who are interested in broadcasting from the capital on sunday. i think we have got a good plan in place. >> if i could add to that, we do have the advantage of having
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done this metro years ago from the presidential inaugural committee side. a lot of the steps we took were trying to learn from the challenges last time. one of the reasons we consolidated the two balls into the convention center, when archer years ago they were spread out over five locations, is to try to make this a logistically more manageable process. our hope is to flow in and out of the official ceremony and the other events will be smooth. jason put out a great online tool for the public -- i think they announced earlier this week. it is a mobile web app that matter= and speak more to. it is part of our effort to make sure people across the country can be involved in this event. we will have live streaming of the event. we will also have logistical
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information for people who are attending. we are between those schools and using twitter and real-time social media tools to make this as smooth a process as possible. we also put a plug in for ttjts. i think we have seen a big leap forward in our reader you're using -- and how we are using media. >> i was wondering if any of you can address what the cost is for all of the preparations. in addition to the hispanic people involved, and any other hispanic celebrities or national leaders that will be joining the ?elebration quest to ma >> i will defer on the cost issue. there are a number of groups and entities that go into this,
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so ascertaining a caustic is tough. a lot of these are moving budgets. i would be able to speak to it more after the event occurs. in terms of the hispanic community involvement, the president is committed to making sure that this is an event that reflects america. you will see in the parade a number of groups among not just from the hispanic community, but from other communities across this country. we can get that full list of participants to you. that really show the diversity of cultures and communities that make up his country. the inaugural poet, for the first time, will be a spanish- american. a cuban-american. you will see a number of leaders attending -- eva lan goria. she was a big support of the
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president's during the campaign. it really does reflect the country. >> i want to add one thing. as far as latino participation in the official festivities, senator schumer invited the reverend anlouis cortez. he has done a tremendous amount to fight crime and poverty and make sure individuals across the country have access to quality education. he will open the luncheon with a prayer in recognition of his long history of service. >> really quick. this does not speak specifically to the spanish-american community, but in shoveling my notes, i did miss the fact we wanted to make sure everyone knew that the
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vers -- thiseveredgar e looks forward as well as to where the president wants president wants to take us as a country. >> i want to know how many foreign dignitaries will be coming and if there is a list for where they are sitting. >> we are still finalizing the a list. we will have more information in the coming days. traditionally, the diplomatic corps has been seated on the
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platform. there are about 15 guest seated on the platform, including the president, the vice president, and his family and guests. governors, the house and senate, the supreme court, joint chiefs, and the diplomatic corps will be there. normally about 150, but we will have more details in the coming days. >> the question is for mr. coburn. there have been questions raised about the transparency of your committee in regards to the donor-related information that has not been released. according totee, according regulations, as to file 90 days after the inauguration. we are providing donors on a weekly basis. the names of those who have given to the committee.
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we believe this is a step above and beyond the transparency regulations place down. we encourage people to go to our website. >> i said at the beginning that i do not want follow-up questions. we want to give everyone a chance. >> chicago tribune. following up on the donors, where are you at today? >> we have not been discussing the goal publicly, but we are on track to meet it. we have every comfort we will have the resources we need to put on all of the the vents we discussed. i am not going to get into specific numbers. >> you have not told us anything about the president's day on sunday. what will he do for the day of service? >> i can answer "i do not know
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those quote to a number of " who a number of those. this is a schedule that is more driven by the white house. when inauguration day falls on a sunday -- this is the seventh time it has happened -- traditionally the public or ceremonial piece is on monday. according to the constitution, he has to be sworn in on january 20 by noon. there'll be a small private ceremony of the white house, just immediate family. it will be available for the american people to see. it will be in the blue room. the president will walk in. chief justice roberts will be there to administer the oath. he will be using the robinerts
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family bible. it will be a quick, official, but important ceremony. the vice president will do the same thing earlier that day. they are doing it that way because of scheduling. that will be at the vice president's residence, again, with the immediate family. he will be sworn in on the biden-family bible. the same one they used four years ago. in between those two, they will be doing a replaying of arlington. as will be different from the replayings they are used to seeing the president and vice president to on veterans day. it is similar to the one we did four years ago. it will be the two of them marking the importance of those who have served this country and given their lives. those are the only thing i know
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of on schedule for sunday. sorry, i should have mentioned that. both the biden's and obamas wil participate saturday in a service activity. we will be making announcements on that in the coming days. odds are you will know when it happens, but they will be doing something, and that will be the entire family. >> a follow-up on the fundraising question. if you do have less ovftover fu, where do you plan to use those funds question mark >> i do not know. i know there are rules that regulate what we can and cannot do with those funds. in the past, some funds were used to do repairs -- repairs on the national mall.
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that is a bridge we will cross when we come to it. there are a number of civic-minded things we can do. >> cnn. how many law-enforcement agencies and offices will be involved in security security on the day of the inauguration? and how large of an area will be closed off? >> i want to apologize for saying it was morning when it was actually afternoon. we cannot go into detail as far as how many law enforcement officers will be present for the inauguration. could you repeat your second question question m? >> how large of an area will be closed off question mark >> i can touch base with you afterwards to provide those. >> [indiscernible]>> with all
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of vents that happen on the capitol complex, we trained constantly to address them. as far as specific threat, i cannot answer that. just know that the united states capital lease, with our law enforcement parsing the -- law enforcement partners, have trained for issue any issues tht might come up. >> two logistical questions. there are credentials for roaming outside of the mall on the capital area. what does nothat get you that te public cannot get question mar?
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and does everyone have to go around the capital and the lincoln memorial again? >> this will not be a satisfying answer, but we will get back to you want details. we have an entire team that just concentrates on media logistics. i know they have been working on that. that was an issue four years ago. some of my colleagues can follow up afterwards. what is your best guess for the running time of the ceremony, start to finish? and the parade? >> i can handle the ceremony portion. we expect the announcement on the platform from the former presidents will begin around 11:00. this will take about 30 minutes. senator schumer opens the ceremony at 11:30.
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we expect the president will take the oath around noon. the final musical acts. the procession will head back inside about 12:30. music begins for the pre-program at nine: 30 in the morning. -- 9:30 in the morning. >> [indiscernible]>> of course. after the inaugural speech and the performances, the president would have beckoned. -- will head back in. >> i love the idea of any show that opens or closes with beyoncé. [laughter]the parade -- it is more traditional sized.
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are prayed four years ago was long -- our parade four years ago was long. these things can change based on whether, other events. this parade is a little different than what you might .ee at an the macy's day parade this is a moving parade that will move through the an old ti. this is important for planning purposes for media who may be covering it. there are escorts that go with the limos down pennsylvania avenue to the white house. there is a short break before the parade begins. it is about 20 minutes. this is so those individuals can go inside quickly and come back out and be positioned before the first elements of the military and civilian units. >> you can probably speak to
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that best. >> for all the participants in the parade, with approximately 10,000 participants, it is a huge logistical dance that happens. primarily, staging is going to happen at the pentagon parking lot. they will go through secret service screening and security screens, get everybody lined up in the proper formation so that the five divisions are clear, everybody in the correct order. then there are logistical teams assigned to each division that are tasked with making sure they start at the proper time, get on the right route. once they get past the viewing stand, there are areas designated for each of the elements in the parade so they can get past ant and dispersed. >> [indiscernible]and best guess
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for start of the parade is 2:30 ?uestion ma >> yes. >> i was wondering if you could speak about whether plans, contingency plans, if you wake up and there is snow on the ground in the morning. >> we do have a weather conditions he -- whether contingency land. ceremonies will be moved inside. that is a decision that the joint committee, in consultation with the presidential inaugural committee, would make sunday afternoon so everyone has time to adjust. >> i would add to that that our goal is to have this event go forward. that being said, we are not going to put anyone in harm's way. the real driver in that som decision-making process will be
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public safety. we will deal with that as it comes up. each element of this outside of the actual swearing in really are just traditions that are important to the president, the first family, the country, to show what our transition of democracy is all about. our hope is to be able to move forward with as many of these events as possible, regardless of the weather. >> on the fund-raising issue, why the reversal from four years ago with more transparency about each donor? george w. bush gave the amount of each donor ahead of time. what decision was made to change that? request?he donors' west
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>> my understanding is that each one of these is created a new every four years. they are not continuations of the same committee from four years ago. this was just the decision that was made in this instance in terms of disclosure. given the fact that there is the requirement this all the public, it was our attempt to go above and beyond that and at a level of transparency. >> over the weekend and on monday, are their telephone numbers we can call if we need to check up on something, maybe an arrest or something untoward? who will be available for phone calls? >> one more time. >> phone numbers over the weekend if there is something we
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need to check up on, who can we call? >> you can probably call me. i am the public information officer for capitol police. [laughter]i will talk to you afterwards. get with me afterwards. i will give that to you. -224-1677. >> as you pick up your credentials, there will be a media guide. it is current as of when it went to print last wednesday. we are still slaves to some things in the digital age. there'll also be an online version of that. 2013pic.org. much like the other large
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national event, like the super bowl or other events the secret service communicates with local and federal police department, there will be a joint information center set up. most of that information should be in that media guide. i have gotten a number of questions about when the media guide will be available. we anticipate the guide will be published later today or first . the timeline for the ceremony itself is always subject to change. we anticipate that and the flow of events and all the details should be public later this afternoon or tomorrow morning. inaugural.senate.gov.
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>> could it be easier logistically than 2009? >> the short answer is the presidential inaugural committee does not to crowd projections. we do crowd counts after the fact. our expectation is this will be more in line with traditional inaugurals in terms of size of crowd. you tend to get larger crowds when there's changes in power from one party to another. obviously, the president being the first african-american president created a lot of interest. we are very excited about this event. we think there is a lot of enthusiasm. this will be much more along the size and scope of review set inauguration. we hope it will be logistically
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as smooth as possible. all of the partners oup here at been working very hard to make it as smooth as possible. these are large event. the weather could be cold. i encourage people to dress warm, be prepared to be outside and work with us to make make this as smooth an event as possible. >e> >> in terms of media participation, how many requests for credentials did you receive and how many did you give out? >> i don't have a specific number, but it's thousands. it is one of the most covered events in the world. it has international significance not just national significance. we have thousands of media organizations that apply for credentials. and matt can speak more to the capitol and what they're expecting and we try to accommodate. we want this to be as public an event as possible and an event that people here in the united states and around the world can join as a symbol of what this country is all about.
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>> "washington post.? there's a lot of interesting tickets made for the parade and the ball. one critic on the hill is saying this can be seen as in-kind work and how many tickets are available for the public. >> i can't give you a specific percentage but can tell you about the universe that make up the ball tickets. certain percentage were given to the general public for purchase. that is unusual and unique to president obama and this inauguration. traditionally there isn't a public sale. we say thank you to folks who have supported the president, that includes staff members, that includes folks that contributed to the president's campaign. but includes volunteers. we worked very hard to make sure that tickets were made available for purchase to thousands of our volunteers to say thank you and
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have them participate in this event and the commander in chief's ball and i touched on this earlier, this was a tradition started by george w. bush. and president obama thought we should continue and one of his favorite parts of the entire weekend. that will be "travel wise" twice the size last time. and they will be attending free of charge. we wish we had more tickets and would like to include as many people as possible but we have struck a good balance with the size of the event and the size of tickets. >> is there anyone who hasn't asked a question? please. >> i'm wondering about the kids' concerts, half of the awedenens is made up of -- audience is made of up military family. >> some armed forces representatives and i don't have the details handy.
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make tickets available to d.c. school kids who have worked with the first lady's office. and it is a ticketed event. it will be at the convention center. but it is free of charge to military families and the d.c. school kids. >> on the other ball, the nonmilitary ball, how many people will be attending that and one of your advisers called it open press. what do you mean by open press, because i thought we had to have secret service credentials to cover that. >> our use of open press means that you could have applied for a credential and we give credentials out. and they are given out on a space basis and a full riser just as if the president was
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giving a speech or campaign event. some of the size, we don't know yet. we will be using as much of the capacity of the convention center as possible. and again, last time we had 10 official balls, this time that is two. we had six that were i believe six that were hosted just at the convention center. so we are doing two in the same space we did six last time. one of the lessons we learned by spreading out our talent, we weren't able to program it in the way we wanted it to. you go to one ball, you see one or two acts. we have a full program throughout the night for all the attendees. both balls, and if you are there, you will get a much richer experience and help us with crowd flow issues. >> these are for credentialed press? >> that's right.
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everything has to be credentialed for security reasons. >> you made it clear that you need credentials. >> our panel has agreed to stay and answer questions informally after the news conference and on behalf of the national press corps, i want to thank them for coming on a busy week for all these individuals and thank those who joined us at today's press conference. thank you. >> tonight we will show you in not euro speeches from the last six years, starting with ronald reagan's a dress from 1981. though clinton in 1993. white eisenhower in 1957. harry truman, 1940 nine.
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1960 nine, richard nixon, then president kennedy in 1961. george w. bush in 19 99. lyndon johnson that from 1965. jimmy carter from 1977. we will wrap up with george w. bush from 2001. starting tonight at 8:00 pm on c-span. >> i barack hussein obama do solemnly swear -- , --[no audio]>> the official swearing ceremony at the white house before noon eastern. our coverage includes your phone calls and a look back at the 2009 presidential inaugural address. the public and inaugural ceremony will be swearing in at noon eastern at the us capitol and other festivities, including the capitol luncheon and parade.
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live coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. eastern time. join the conversation by phone, facebook, and on twitter. >> you can see the crews finishing up work between the white house and the capitol getting ready for the inauguration. you can see in front of the white house off of the inaugural parade on monday. some of the finishing touches are going up. there is a presidential seal attached to a heated glassed in area. that is where president obama and michelle obama will watch the parade. the city of washington has spent $6.5 million on inauguration related activities. it is according to the washington business journal and that counts for everything to bottled water to the 2.8 $4
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million of the construction of the grandstand we just saw. we will take a look around some of the reparations for the inauguration. [indiscernible] [indiscernible] >> attorney general eric holder
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talked about the president's plan to reduce gun filings. he was at the us conference of mayors along with the head of tsa and the merits houston texas. -- mayor of houston texas. >> good morning. we will get started. i am the chair of the criminal and social justice committee.
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i have several -- they may join us in progress. i will allow everyone to introduce yourselves. >> we are on a fairly tight schedule. if you'll give me your name and city and we will go in quickly. >> from davenport, iowa. >> connecticut. >> from university city, missouri. >> hempstead, new york. >> california. >> miami, florida. >> lancaster, pennsylvania. >> mayor of harrisburg, pennsylvania. >> delaware.
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>> california. >> arlington heights, illinois. >> minnesota. >> south carolina. >> roanoke, virginia. >> seattle, washington. >> we have a co-chaired that is here. thank you for being here. it is an honor to introduce the first speaker, john pistole. he has served in that position when he came to tsa as a veteran of the fbi with extensive counterterrorism experience. he was put in charge of the really expanded counter
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terrorism program and became the fbi's executive director for counterintelligence. he was named deputy director for the fbi. it is our honor to have you here this morning and we look forward to your comments. please. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to be here today to share a few things with you in terms of what tsa does and how that impacts you as mayors of cities. we have a large work force and worked into 450 airports. some of your constituents may be tsa employees. there's a couple things i would like to touch on and see if we
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have time for questions and comments. one is the reason we do our work. tsa was created after 9/11. we have been pushing the boundaries to force those who try to causes harm to look at foldable points in the global aviation system. there every attack, it has been from overseas. there are 270 or sell airports that have nonstop service to the we want to make sure the policies and protocols are at least at the point where it meets international standards. we work through the u.n. to
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raise those standards to a point where we can have some confidence that the security being provided to the u.s. are similar to ours. we believe we have the best security in the world. that is why terrorists have looked elsewhere. to demonstrate the dedication of the terrorists, particularly al qaeda, and the length they will go to to try to block a u.s.- bound airliner. we go back to the young nigerian man who was given a bomb that had no metal in it and never set off alarm. that is the reason we have the advanced imaging technique in
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the u.s., the body scanners. they let us pick up metallic objects. let's have them as a deterrent to force the terrorists to come up with new and innovative ideas. some technical issues with that device. the young men flew from amsterdam to detroit. fast- forward to two years ago in october of 2010. there were two packages sent from yemen to chicago. because some outstanding cooperation by foreign security service. we were given the tracking numbers for those packages. one was sent on its ups and both had computer printers that had toner cartridges that were
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actually bombs. we got the tracking numbers. they went and found those packages and opened them up. this was good intelligence. on the second instance, they found it on -- it took them three times to find it. there is a master bond maker in yemen that was training others. made those devices and used a similar device to use his younger brother as a suicide bomber at to kill a saudi official. april of last year there is another updated attempts on a u.s. passenger airliner was the
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intended goal. this device was given to a terrorist to get on a u.s.-bound aircraft and blow the plane up. this terrorist was a double agent for another foreign security terrorists. that individual was able to extricate himself and the device out of yemen. the device was brought back here. we analyzed the device. this was a new improved underwear device. it was not even that wide. a little bit longer than that and easily concealable. that is the challenge we're dealing with. a terrorist group that is innovative in their concealment of devices.
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that is why tsa provides security at our airports. how can we use that information in an intelligence-based way. how we have changed our one- size-fits-all approach after 9/11, aware of all of the threats that are out there. the notion that we cannot expect to provide a 100% guaranteed. we screen over two million carry-on bags. 6 million people every year that we screen. try to manage risk just as you do in your job as mayors.
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a recognition in how we can work in partnership with the traveling partnership. if you're willing to share information, we can do a pre- screen before you get to there. we do this in 35 airports around the country now. if you are a known and trusted traveler, you go to a dedicated lane and keep your shoes and belts on and your laptop in your carry-on bag. we can spend more time on those we know the least about an expedite those that are known and trusted. you would consider yourself to be known and trusted. we would like to work with you in including mayors in terms of the known and trusted
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population. we have a table where we are working with people to sign up. signing up for global entry which allows expedited re-entry to the country. it also qualifies you for tsa pre-checks. for those who knows somebody 75 or older and 12 or under, they can keep their shoes on. we have about 100,000 passengers each day. we treated them -- recognizing there is no guarantee. there have always been exceptions to the rules. and unpredictable will always be part of the process. 170,000 a week go through a
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different way of screening instead of jamming up the passenger lines. 16 agencies with top-secret clearances. we know a lot about them. that is part of what this is. the idea is how do we expand the known and trusted population? we are working with you in identifying groups of people that may fit those groups of people. we're looking at some other opportunities. global entry light. global entry is $20 a year but you have to have a passport.
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those are some of the things we're working on that wanted to make you aware. more precise in our cargo screening and passenger screening. for mayors of cities of size that have airports that are engines for your local or regional communities, you know how important it is to have good safety and security. we want to provide for the best possible security. thank you for your time this morning and i look forward to any questions. [applause] >> we do appreciate your being here.
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we have three airports in houston. we depend on international traffic. what are we doing to make sure that international visits people can get then but also to protect safety on the international side? >> there are a number of initiatives, trying to be more welcoming for business and tourism. those are things that are taking part in different parts of the government. we have taken a first step with our friends to the north. canada has a program called nexus. we have accepted them as part of tsa -- we tried to recognize
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the known and trusted population of mexico. u.s. citizens traveling internationally. tsa precheck is just a domestic program. >> we have time for a few questions. mayors? you need you mike on. anyone? >> thank you. >> now we will have a brief report from the seattle mayor who has been spearheading our efforts related to human trafficking. certain publications such as
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back page.com to implement in person age verification and in the exploitation of children through their services. mayor? >> thank you for inviting me. this is the national human slavery and traffic and prevention month. our city council has passed a resolution and what urge you to do the same. the conference passed a resolution calling on backpage.com to end the sexual exploitation of minors. i want to describe the problem briefly. we know from our police department and human services providers when we took a lock at the seattle region, there were
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some between 300 or 500 underage young women that were being sold for sex online in the area. that was kind of shocking to us. it's not as well-known a problem as it should be. i don't think this was a seattle problem. the vulnerable young women are preyed upon by pimps. it is a very abusive relationship, similar to the situation of domestic violence in a way. these young women are controlled. we're change our practices in seattle where we changed our vice unit.
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the point was to view these victims as victims of crime. we have a program to give that a place to stay and try to take them out of this life. it is challenging. the pimp will work to bring this person back if they can. what we know is that the internet has changed how this works. it is advertise online. backpage.com is one of the chief places where captains. we have recovered over 25 young women that were advertised for sale. look up your city on backpage.com. escorts are being advertised in
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your city. you do not know if they are under or over 18. but neither does backpage. we require them to have in person age verification with identification and they refused. we brought pressure on them. backpage.com is a wholly owned subsidiary which owns print publications in a number of cities. as a result of that pressure, they divested themselves of backpage.com. that was a success story. there is bad news as well. there was legislation to advertise to children for sale
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on the internet would be criminal, if you facilitated that. that would be an affirmative defense for companies like backpage. backpage went to the courts. there are provisions to prevent internet companies from being held liable for the actions of others. they said we were pre-empted from the field and their freedom of speech rights prevailed. knowing disregard for the effects of their practices to enable this. this is the challenge that we face. we will try to go back and work on this. backpage.com makes millions on this.
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they refuse to institute practices to stop it. others do not have the same problem. we'll have a conference of mayors up and down the i-5 corridor. these young women are brought from town to town. one phone number was tracked that was being advertised. it was in the big cities like san francisco, seattle, portland. but also in little cities and this person is transported from place to place. the capacity for our police department is challenging. we are working on better solutions so our police department can share information and interdict this.
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is there a young woman that we should be seeking to recover? we will try to bring more pressure on the men who do this. we need more tools to attempt to combat this. the tsa also plays a role in this. i want to thank you for the work that is done to elevate this issue. it is hard to believe it is as bad as it is. it is happening in your community, too. we need to come together to change the climate where men feel they can go online and buy this.
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we need better tools to combat this. maybe we should look at our own laws about what is appropriate regulations. thank you for your work. [applause] >> anyone have any questions for the mayor? he is targeting a particular aspect of the traffic of underage women for sexual purposes. many of us have problems in our cities with human trafficking. houston is a major transport point for a human trafficking. i have a task force that deals with domestic and international trade in human beings. we tend to think about it as the sex trade. it is a growing problem in the
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united states. there is a sex worker or nanny confined to a household or the worker at your favorite nail salon and whether they're able to travel freely in cities. this is something we're beginning to look at. i've been joined by one of my co-chairs -- i'm sorry -- des moines, iowa. glad to have you here. we're expecting the attorney general.
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if there is no other question -- yes, ma'am? >> i had a chance to meet with the mayor of seattle. [indiscernible] >> a person can make $400,000 a year with just two or three girls. we try to talk about a campaign to talk with the johns. this is a crime with underage girls. i wonder if you have been looking at improving the crimes against those trafficking with the girls but also a campaign of shaming people.
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we have closed motels down but neighbors are taking down license plate numbers and we're sending letters to owners of these cars. we call them dear john letters. >> that sounds like a good idea. i don't know if you have something you want to add to that. we're trying to draw distinctions. it is and old profession. we're not discussing that within the conference of mayors. we are focusing on the human trafficking aspect, primarily with underage girls. anybody forced into one of these positions. our next speaker is here.
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americans have been stunned by senseless acts of violence involving guns, from columbine where 13 were killed, virginia tech, 32 murdered, fort hood, 13 murdered, tucson, six murdered. including a congress person who was wounded. aurora, oak creek, then the december 14 tragedy that killed 20 young children and six educators in newtown. that is still incomprehensible to most of us. mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting. we must cope with gun violence in our own city.
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equipment: for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. in an open letter to the president and congress sent three days after the newtown tragedy, the conference of mayors sent a statement urging immediate action. more than 200 mayors have signed on to the letter. we're calling on the president to exercise his powers to introduce and pass legislation to make a reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. we called on congress to enact legislation to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons and to strengthen the background assistance and eliminate loopholes and to strengthen the penalties for purchases of guns.
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preventing gun violence whether it mass shooting in a school or a murder on a street corner will take much more than strengthening our gun laws. it is a culture of gun violence in our nation. a violent act should not be the first response to saddling or, setting for a wrong. what can we be done about that? identify people and get them help they need. we need to make sure we link the work we need to do in preventing gun violence with access to appropriate mental health. the president heeded our call or agreed with us.
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i welcome now the attorney general of the united states. i assume he will address that and many other issues. attorney-general holder served as deputy attorney general during the clinton administration. we appreciate the leadership which mr. holder has brought to the department. we have seen a renewed commitment to two justice department programs, one, the hiring grant program and the burnt justice assistance grant,. you have sharpened the national
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focus on violence prevention, and helped many of our citizens to combat violence. you are an important member of the vice-president's working group, and it is an honor to have you here at the u.s. conference of mayors. [applause] >> thank you. good morning. i guess good afternoon. one of the two. it's a pleasure to be here today, and a privilege to be included, once again, in this annual forum. i'd like to recognize mayor nutter, along with the u.s. conference of mayors' executive committee and staff, for all they've done to make this year's winter meeting such a success. and i'd like to thank every member of the criminal and social justice committee for the opportunity to take part in this important session. for more than eight decades,
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this organization has brought together dozens of our nation's best and brightest public servants to share ideas and expertise, to discuss mutual concerns, and to formulate the policy solutions that our cities, communities, and citizens deserve. over the years, i've had the chance to work with many of you to address some of the most complex and intractable public safety challenges we face. it's an honor to join vice president biden, administrator pistole, and other leaders from across the administration in continuing our work this week -- and adding my voice to this critical dialogue. and i'm particularly grateful for this opportunity to thank each of you for your service, your leadership, and your partnership -- with one another, with key federal, state, local, and tribal leaders, and -- especially -- with the united states department of justice. every day, america's mayors stand on the front lines of our
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fight against terrorism, crime, and threats to the most vulnerable members of society. your engagement is essential in protecting our citizens from harm, guarding against civil rights violations, and combating the gun-, gang-, and drug-fueled violence that steals too many promising futures. you understand exactly what we're up against -- not only because you hear the alarming statistics and read the news stories, but because you see it, firsthand, on a daily basis. most importantly, you recognize, as i do, that no public safety challenge can be understood in isolation -- and that none of us can make the progress we need, and secure the results our communities deserve, on our own. this is particularly true when it comes to gun violence -- an issue that, in one way or
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another, has touched every city and town represented here -- and about which many of you have long been passionate advocates. on a number of occasions, the leaders in this room have joined with the justice department to support law enforcement and strengthen anti-violence initiatives. especially in recent weeks -- as our nation has come together in the wake of last month's horrific events in newtown, connecticut -- you've heard from your citizens and colleagues. you've built a broad, bipartisan consensus on the need to protect the most vulnerable among us -- our children. and many of you are helping to lead efforts to heed, and to honor, the lessons of sandy hook elementary school? and the realization that unacceptable levels of gun violence plague our cities and towns every day. this unspeakable tragedy, and the individual tragedies that take place on your streets all too often and all too often unnoticed, stand as stark reminders of our shared responsibility to address not just the epidemic of gun-related
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crimes, and the ongoing need for vigorous enforcement of our laws but also the underlying conditions that give rise to gun violence. throughout our history, the overwhelming majority of american gun owners have been responsible, law-abiding citizens. yet we've repeatedly seen -- in the most tragic ways -- how easy it can be for dangerous people to acquire, and wreak havoc with, deadly weapons. although there's no single solution that can bring a decisive end to this senseless violence, it's incumbent upon each of us to try. and it's time to consider what common-sense steps we can take together -- to save lives. this means doing everything we can to secure the tools and resources we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who are not and should not be allowed to possess them. it means taking action to ensure that, while our second amendment rights are upheld, we have the means to prosecute effectively
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those who use firearms to commit acts of violence. and it means summoning the courage to confront even the most difficult, enduring and pervasive national challenges. i know many of you participated in yesterday's session with vice president biden, in which he discussed the administration's efforts to combat gun violence and the concrete, common-sense recommendations that president obama adopted earlier this week. as you know, i worked closely with the vice president, a number of my fellow cabinet members, and representatives from more than 200 groups -- of experts, advocacy organizations, policymakers, and private citizens -- to help formulate this plan. from law enforcement leaders, to firearm owners and enthusiasts, technology experts, and gun safety advocates, from retailers, to mental health
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members of the clergy, victims of gun violence, and members of the entertainment industry -- the conversations we had were frank, wide-ranging, and inclusive. and the consensus that emerged was clear -- that, as president obama said, "if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence -- if there is even one life that can be saved then we have an obligation to try." this obligation is what drove the administration to propose a range of legislative remedies -- along with 23 executive actions to end mass shootings and prevent gun violence. on wednesday, president obama signed directives putting a number of these proposals into action. others will require legislation that will soon be introduced in congress -- and which we hope will receive timely consideration. and, at every level of the administration -- and, particularly within the department of justice -- my colleagues and i will continue doing everything in our power to maximize enforcement efforts and implement new recommendations for keeping our people safe, and our cities, neighborhoods, and schools secure.
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but we won't be able to do this alone. the fact is that our ability to tackle this challenge will depend on the willingness of millions of americans -- and thousands of dedicated public servants like you -- to engage with one another in order to make a positive difference. we can begin by calling for immediate congressional action. as the president indicated, congress should move swiftly to adopt legislation to require "universal" background checks, so that a full background check is conducted every time someone attempts to buy a gun. by taking this relatively simple step, we can significantly strengthen our ability to keep criminals and other dangerous individuals from gaining access to deadly weapons. and we can do so starting today by encouraging private sellers to run their transactions through the nics background system with the help of a licensed gun dealer.
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many licensed dealers throughout the country already facilitate firearms transfers between private individuals on a regular basis. and we are encouraging more private sellers to work with licensed dealers to ensure that all sales are subject to a comprehensive background check. of course, the effectiveness of these checks depends on the integrity of the national background check system as a whole. to date, this system has proven remarkably effective -- enabling gun dealers to make more than 90 percent of background check determinations on the spot, and roughly 95 percent within three business days. this has helped us keep more than 1.5 million guns from falling into the wrong hands over the last 14 years. but we can, and must, do even better -- by ensuring that the information included in this system is complete, tearing down barriers that prevent federal
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agencies -- and some states -- from sharing relevant records, and making certain that our laws and regulations are as effective as possible when it comes to identifying those who should not have access to firearms. this week, president obama took executive action in support of these goals -- addressing gaps in the national background check system, bringing accountability to the sources of information it relies upon, and ensuring that federal law enforcement agencies become more uniform in tracing guns recovered during investigations. at the same time, he put an end to the virtual "freeze" on rigorous, non-partisan research into gun violence by the centers for disease control -- and has directed the cdc to resume examining the causes of this violence and evaluating strategies for its prevention. he has taken a variety of steps to reinforce the justice department's efforts to provide law enforcement with the tools, training, and resources they need to prosecute gun-related crime -- and to respond to
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active shooter situations. in addition, at the president's direction, the administration will issue guidance making clear that, under existing federal laws, doctors are in no way prohibited from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement. we will work with individual communities and school districts to develop plans to make our schools safer. and relevant authorities will finalize regulations under the affordable care act to increase access to mental health services for all who need them. not one of the executive orders contrary to what a few have said impinges upon anyone's second amendment rights or is inconsistent with the historical use of executive power. but all of this is only the beginning. in addition to these actions and proposals, the administration has called upon congress to renew legislation banning high- capacity magazines, including
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those used in recent high- profile mass shootings, to protect our police by getting rid of armor-piercing bullets, to pass a new assault weapons ban, updated and stronger than the one enacted in 1994, to keep military-style weapons off of our streets, and to consider a series of new federal laws imposing tough penalties on the gun traffickers who help funnel weapons to dangerous criminals. these measures represent essential parts of any serious, comprehensive effort to eradicate gun violence -- and today, i join president obama, vice president biden, and countless americans in urging congressional leaders to adopt them without delay. i'd also like to echo the president's call for the senate to confirm todd jones as director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives -- a critical justice department component that's been without a senate-confirmed leader for six years -- and to
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eliminate misguided restrictions that require the atf to allow the importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age. some have said that these changes will require "tough" votes by members of congress. public service is never easy, and there come times when those of us who are in elected or appointed positions must put the interests of those we are privileged to serve above that which might be politically expedient or professionally safe. this is one of those times. by acting within existing authorities to improve our enforcement capacity for laws that are already on the books, by enacting common-sense legislation to strengthen our ability to stop guns from falling into the wrong hands and to stem the proliferation of military-style weapons and high- capacity magazines, i'm
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confident that we can -- and will -- make significant strides in reducing the violence that too often fills our headlines and afflicts our communities. as vice president biden said yesterday, the administration is determined to take our gun violence prevention efforts to a new level -- and we're eager to work with leaders like you in advancing the conversation about how we can put an end to these crimes and secure a brighter future for all those we're privileged to serve. to this end, in addition to implementing the orders and advocating for the legislative actions that the president announced on wednesday, my colleagues and i remain committed to standing with america's mayors in strengthening anti-violence initiatives that are already underway. since 2009, this commitment has led the justice department to award more than $3.5 billion to state and local partners through byrne-jag -- a grant program that helps keep officers on the beat, and equips them with the latest tools and technologies.
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over a similar period, the department's community oriented policing services -- or cops -- hiring program awarded more than $1.5 billion to create or protect over 8,000 jobs in local law enforcement. our officer safety working group has also been forging stronger relationships with officers and law enforcement organizations across the country -- and building a platform for researching the threats they face. under a groundbreaking training and technical assistance program called valor, we're enabling officers to anticipate, prevent, and survive violent encounters. thanks to initiatives like the bulletproof vest partnership program, we're helping to provide law enforcement with equipment that is -- quite simply -- saving lives. and, based on the recommendations of our defending
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childhood task force, we're bringing a variety of partners together, expanding screening and assessment of at-risk children, and supporting research to help combat unacceptable levels of violence among, and directed towards, our nation's young people. there's no question that we can be proud of these and other current efforts to reduce violence and victimization. but, as you've been discussing this week -- and as the president has made quite clear we cannot yet be satisfied, and this is clearly no time to become complacent. when it comes to combating gun violence, preventing future tragedies, and ensuring the safety of our citizens and first responders, each of the leaders in this room has both the power and the responsibility -- to make a powerful, positive difference. despite the challenges and frustrations we may face -- and the disagreements that may, at times, divide us from one another -- we all have essential roles to play in driving the critical debate that is unfolding across the country. and every one of us has been
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given a rare chance -- to strengthen this nation and help to determine its future. so, as we conclude today's session, adjourn the 81st winter meeting of the u.s. conference of mayors, and begin planning for the 82nd -- i urge you to seize this moment. i ask that you keep up the conversations we began this week, and pledge to continue working together in pursuit of the goals we share. and i thank you -- as colleagues, as partners, and as indispensible leaders -- for your contributions, your service, and your ongoing dedication to protecting and improving the lives of those around us. thank you very much. [applause] >> i had several mayors who asked me prior, to the attorney
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general to take questions, and unfortunately, he did not and is on a tight schedule, but i mentioned there is an official letter from the u.s. conference of mayors on the issue of gun violence and safety, and well more than 200 mayors have signed it. i do not know what the current count is. if you're not one of the mayors who has signed on to that statement, you have the opportunity to do so today, and we would be happy to have you as part of that. i am the mayor of houston. texas is a gun-owning state. personally, i am a gun owner, and believe in the right to bear arms, but i have probably said to my fellow mayors there are common-sense regulations that we could put in place that will
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make us safer. i note that some of the mayors in the room today have thoughts, particularly those in parts of the country that are supportive of personal ownership of weapons, to step up and to make our voices heard. did you wish to address that issue? if you would state your name first, please. just the little button there. ok, you've got a lucky microphone. go ahead. >> we had a conference call on wednesday one day last week, and i spoke with [indiscernible]
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my observation to general holder was that we could somehow take the washington focus off of it and put the solution and resources down to our citizens. quite frankly, no one mentioned this -- [indiscernible] we are in a better position [indiscernible] that these plans can be implemented without the great fear of a washington force coming in and taking their guns.
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administration to come up with a package in which a forgiven [indiscernible] does not wish to have, if there are 10 items coming out of washington and my [indiscernible] then they can go and say i will vote for it because i am not taking all of it. if we could push it countable local level i think we could be much more effective in getting a package passed. the fear of taking guns away is largely a fear of the national government taking guns away. they can vote me out of office quickly. if we could get empowered, i think it would be helpful, and that is what i have been urging the administration to do. >> it is a fear of washington more than a fear of their local public officials. do you want to take my chair and use the mike over here, and if there are any others who want to weigh in?
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>> thank you. i took the liberty to talk to my police chief and asked him to assess this, and he has been a police chief in a prior community. something that i heard the attorney general mentioned, which now extends one of the questions my chief asked, was that he would anticipate that major professional law enforcement organizations would support the report in deregulation, but that it is never mentioned. it has been silent of where the position of the justice department and the bureau of atf. and they have not met for six years? >> they have been working. >> they need something to keep them together, but this is by the comment about do we have to wait for washington to do
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something -- it seems like it takes way too long. he focused on the three areas that i heard consistently now for the last week, the background checks. they have to be done no matter who you are. it should be done. that would be one way to make certain no one is flipping through. the assault weapons and high- capacity magazines are something that -- what do you need for those? even hunters would agree that those are not necessary. and then why can we actually enforce the gun laws we now have put it seems like so many places in our country, they are ignored or forgotten. depending on the climate of your citizenry, we need to push and work together because we cannot watch our children being
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mowed down. this is probably the most horrible thing that i have ever, ever heard. all of these catastrophic events like the movie theater, and to walk into a school and shoot first- and second-graders, it is incomprehensible, and has to have a reaction, and u.s. conference of mayors is placed to push it, and we need each and every one of you to let your congress members know that something has to be done or they are to be considered do- nothings, be pushed around, and debate it for weeks and months and then do nothing or do half- baked. address it. >> thank you. is there anyone else who wishes -- [applause]
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i see someone over here. did you have anything to weigh in on this thing as well? >> the only thing i would add to the discussions, and i have had discussions with our chief of police and we have all gone over a lot issues that we are concerned about. when we talk about assault weapons, having been in the military myself, i am not as concerned, although i know a lot of people are, with how a weapon looks. i am most concerned about how it operates. when i pull the trigger, is the one bullet coming out, three bullets coming out, or are there a whole lot of bullets coming out? to me, that is what makes the difference between a military- style weapon and less concerned about whether it has a hand grip on it or this or that.
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i want to know if i'm looking at a weapon that's throwing a lot of bullets out and become a totally different piece of equipment. >> i know my own police chiefs are interested in things like armor-piercing bullets and want to all those out. >> i think it is admirable that the mayors signed letters to push out congressional leaders in the forefront. i do not know how many cities have ordinances or have tried to push ordinances that would address high-capacity magazines, that would address background checks. what would help our leaders and our president move forward, if mayors, as i do with my own city attorney, drafting a local ordinance that would make those kinds of things illegal in my own city. more and more mayors, if they pass local ordinances, that would send a message strongly to congressional leaders and
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they would know they have the support, on the local level. i am asking the question of how many mayors in cities have ordinances that address those kinds of issues. >> i cannot speak for -- >> california. >> [indiscernible] which preempt local governments. this is why we have got to support the administration in setting the efficient and the tone and making the resources available, which will then -- if we had the resources, we would not have to pass -- if i have the resources to enforce the laws and build the jail space is necessary to get the folks off the street, i would not need any more laws passed. it is resources. that is why the schools --
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there are very few people opposed to more cops on the street. this is why i want people to come up with an approach -- if you do not want what the feds are offering, that is your business. if we get the resources, even with the laws the way they are, we can make a big dent in this and get around this state pre- emptive laws. >> i do not know if there are other measures that have the ability to do what you are doing. >> have restrictions on ourselves, but there are a lot that are not keeping our hands. we have our gun shops in town, but we have ongoing private sales between individual citizens, and we have no way of looking at that.
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what we're proposing is if a private sale is made, that individual must report it to the department of public safety or the police department, and when that sale is made, the buyer has to register that the gun. those are things that we can look at and to that are not restricted by state ordinance or federal law that we cannot touch. trying to ban assault weapons, that could go all the way up to supreme court. dealing with high-capacity magazines, dealing with making private owners register with the police departments if they sold the gun, and then put a burden on them and we're looking at this language that if the private sale is not reported and that gun is used in the commission of a crime, that person could be held liable. there is a lot of things we could do to strengthen and making it tougher for these things to happen.
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we cannot rely on congress, and i give my blessings of the president to see we can get these things through. we're relying on federal laws, and i think local mayors me to start passing ordinances that they will pass that will restrict these things like- capacity magazines. i worry about that my daughter is a police officer. i asked her, what is the amount of rounds you carry as a police officer? it is 15 rounds. taking 15 rounds against an automatic weapon is like taking a knife to a gunfight. it does not work. we have to level the playing field. why not pass local ordinances? i think mayors can do that on a local level. that is my two cents. >> we're running close to the end of our time today.
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anybody else who needs to weigh in? >> i think it would be unfortunate if there was the impression in the country that local officials are not doing something they can do and as the federal government to do, because in south carolina we could not do that. the states in the country have some level of pre-emption, so in our state, the ability to regulate, that is a state function. we are our only option. i think this is a national matter that requires a uniform approach. >> [indiscernible] >> your name?
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[indiscernible] >> i agree. we may not be able to have the enforcement power, but we will be showing our congress people that we stand behind them, and in our community, [indiscernible] he is in favor of what we are proposing. one of our young men who grew up in our town was one of the police officers who was shot. [indiscernible] that was the only thing. we have to protect our children absolutely, and that is the most tragic -- we have to protect our police officers as well. >> one of the things we can think about in those states where we do not have the ability to preempt state law on some of these issues is that our police departments are major
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purchasers of weapons and ammunition. and when gun manufacturers, ammunition manufacturers, weigh in on this issue, i think as major customers, we have the opportunity to engage with them, and one of the things that i am going to go do when i go home is sit down with my police chief and my purchasing department and we will figure out what our spending is annually on gun ammunition. as mayors, if we put our dollars out there, we too are a voice that the industry should be engaging with and listening to. i thank you for your time and attention today, and thanks for being a part of this meeting. if you have issues he would like to see the criminal social justice committee address this, please shoot me an e-mail.
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before we leave, arlene, you have been doing this for 20 years? you're about to be leaving us? we want to thank you for your service. [applause] >> the u.s. conference of mayors has been meeting in washington. yesterday, vice president bided addressed the group. the vice president was introduced by philadelphia mayor michael nutter. >> mayors and ladies and gentlemen.
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please welcome vice-president joe biden and philadelphia mayor michael nutter. [applause] >> mayors and ladies and gentlemen, it is, of course, my distinct honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce our good friend and my good friend, vice president joe biden. throughout his career as a public servant, vice president biden has championed issues that are critical to the prosperity and growth of america's cities, and he has engaged directly with the u.s. conference of mayors on a regular basis.
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during our annual meeting this past june in orlando, vice president biden pledged that the obama administration would make sure that future infrastructure investments are more targeted to local areas. in november, last year, the vice president hosted our leadership in the white house to discuss the fiscal cliff and the concerns of mayors regarding both investment programs and tax-exempt financing. issueer there's a major that demands attention, again and again and again, vice president joe biden has shown the leadership and courage needed to help move our nation in the right direction. and that is why i was certainly heartened when president obama asked vice president biden to lead a special task force to develop responses to the tragedy not only at sandy hook elementary school, but the daily tragedies we see all across america. the nation's mayors and vice
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president biden have stood together for many, many years in support of public safety. after all, it was then-senator joe biden who championed the crime bill, which established the cops program and included the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, which congress unfortunately, allowed to expire. yesterday, i was personally very proud to be in the white house as president obama and vice president biden unveiled a strong, comprehensive package of legislative and regulatory reforms needed to response to the ongoing gun violence in america's cities and suburbs. seey day america's mayors the carnage caused by illegal guns and assault weapons that have no place on our nation's streets. working with president obama, vice president biden and the congress, we will make sure
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that the changes that are needed to protect our children are made. ladies and gentlemen, u.s. conference of mayors, welcome back our great friend, vice president joe biden. [applause] >> thank you very much. please, please be seated. thank you all very, very much. an honor to be back with you. i would like to begin by acknowledging two folks from delaware who are here who are engaged in this subject as well. one i have known for years and years. he is now our new mayor, dennis williams, i don't know where you are out there, but welcome to the conference, old buddy. great to have you. and dennis and i go back to the days when we were writing the crime bill when dennis was a
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police officer in the city of wilmington. and also the chief law enforcement of delaware is here that i have known even longer. we share the same last name, the attorney general of the state of delaware, by son beaux and i do whatever he says because he has the power to indict. [laughter] >> all kidding aside, i'm proud of my home state as we used to say in the senate, point of personal privilege, the progress they are making, efforts they are making under the leadership of our governor on the very subject you talked about. and i say to dennis, mayor williams, forgive me, i'm so used to referring to the mayor of philadelphia as my mayor because i spent about half my life in philadelphia and my granddaughter resides in the city limits, i want to be particularly good. my daughter is also a voter there as well.
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so i have to be particularly on good behavior. ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be back. i look forward to this opportunity every chance i get from the time i was a young fellow and new to the united states senate. it's one of the groups with whom i have had a relationship with for a long, long time and nice to be with a group of people who you agree with on all of the issues 90% of the time. so it's nice to be with you. i know you have come to talk about a broad range of very important, challenging issues that are facing each of your cities and towns, energy, infrastructure, budgets, finances, crime. and i want you to know that we, the president and i, and the important part of that is the president, continues to be absolutely committed to do all we can to help the cities deal with the immense problems that get thrust upon them as a
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consequence of diminished tax bases, as a consequence of housing, a significant portion of the public and the states that are in the most need. we are committed to having a third phase of the so-called big deal in the budget. we're of the view that just as it took during the clinton administration, it didn't happen in one fell swoop. the economy in great shape and move toward a balanced budget. it started off in three phases. it started off with president bush's actions, the first president bush in terms of taxation before president clinton took office. and then the actions the president took in 1994 and then in 1997. well, we think there is a third
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phase here that can set our country on a path that will allow us to get our debt to g.d.p., our deficit to g.d.p. down around 3%, which is the basis of all economists left, right and center all agree on the areas we can begin to grow as a country. and as my grandfather used to say with grace of god and goodwill of the neighbors, cooler heads will prevail now between now and the time we deal with the debt ceiling and we may meet the goal which we set out to do, which is to have roughly a $4 trillion cut over 10 years in the long-term deficit and to put us on that path. but i didn't come here to talk about any of those important subjects today, because as important as they all are today we have a more urgent and immediate call and that is how to deal with the epidemic of gun violence in america.
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you all know the statistics better than anyone so i'm not going to repeat them. on that score, i owe an incredible debt of gratitude to you at the head table and those of you in the room. unanimitydon't have in this ballroom nor do we in any ballroom, but we all acknowledge that we have to do something. we have to act. and i hope we all agree, there is a need to respond to the carnage on our streets and in our schools. i hope we all agree that mass shootings like the one we witnessed in newtown 34 days ago cannot be continued to be tolerated. that tragedy has affected the public psyche in a way i have never seen before. the image of first graders, not only shot, but riddled with bullets. parents in the streets
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panicking, trying to find out if the child they put on the bus in the morning had any prospect of going back on the bus and going back home that afternoon. for 20 of those parents, the answer is no and i believe as i'm sure you do, we have an obligation to respond intelligently to that crisis. and i know many of you feel the same way. i have had the occasion to talk to a number of you and i wanted to start by thanking all of you, including mayor bloomberg, who is not here today, although i spoke to him on the phone. thank you for your input and incite. -- insight. again, not all agree on what should be done. but you have probably more than any group of elected officials thought about this issue more intently and longer. you have done a great deal of work on this. all of you who deal with the issue every day. i'm not going to ask for a show
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of hands, but if i did, a lot of people would put their hands up in this room. how many of you mayors attended the funeral of a police officer or an innocent child in a drive-by shooting or shop owner in your city? many of you, many of you have had to attend and many of you, many, many funerals. some of your communities experienced mass shootings, not just in schools, but movie theaters and temples and not unique to big cities. it was -- i happened to be literally, probably turned out to be a quarter of a mile back in 2006 at an outing when i heard gunshots in the woods that we didn't know where we thought there were hunters. i got back to the clubhouse in this outing and saw helicopters. it was a shooting that had just
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taken place in a small amish school just outside of lancaster, pennsylvania. so it's not just big cities or well-to-do suburbs. it can happen anywhere. but i also know that it's not just about mass shootings. as my friend michael knows, and as my mayor knows, the murder rates in both the our towns are well beyond, well beyond what is remotely tolerable for a civilized circumstance. it is not just about mass shootings, but gun violence of all kinds. over the past several years, 25 people died of gun-related homicides in this country every single day. every day.
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which is the equivalent of the third most deadly mass shooting in history happening every 24 hours in this country. as much as we intend on making schools the focus, making them more secure. as mayor emanuel of chicago said, the truth is most schools are safe. it is going to and from school when young people are in the greatest danger. we do not see that on the news very much anymore. we hear about mass shootings, but not every day gun violence as ravaging our cities. i remember my friend. i always looked up to him at and consider him a friend, then your patrick predicted a patrick moynihan. when we were trying to get through the bite and crime bills -- biden crime bill, we were all on the floor debating this
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issue, and patrick told the story of a valentine's day massacre in 1929, and how shocked the world when seven gangsters were gunned down in cold blood. it made the front page of every major paper in the nation and many around the world. but then he said, in 1992 with when a woman saved her baby from execution by hiding that baby under the bed, but she was shot and killed, along with her husband and teenage son, that story, and he took out "the new york times" took up the second section. it was not front-page news.
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it was barely news at all. i will never forget what he said. he said i call that defining deviancy down. how it was not even news. if that had happened in 1929, it would have been astonishing. well, folks, we can no longer continue to define deviancy down. we cannot wait any longer to take action. the time has come. as you know, this week i delivered a set of recommendations to president obama on how we can better protect americans from gun violence. i have been getting credit and blame for that, as if these were original ideas of mind.
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-- of mine. i want to make it clear, what the only power influence of vice-president has is reflected power. none of it matters, no matter what someone tries to give you credit for. if it were not for the leadership of the present united states, the president of the united states. i am his agent, but this is the president of the united states. he asked me to go back because of my years of experience in judiciary committee in dealing with these issues, he asked me to go back and do as quick of a survey as i could, as the row as -- as thorough as i could in a short time frame and present him with a set of recommendations. i have the incredible help of some really first-rate cabinet manners -- members, starting with the attorney-general, secretary of education and
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homeland security, secretary of health and human services. and we met with a range of 229 groups. representing a wide range prospectus. -- range of perspectives. from members of the law enforcement community, including many from your cities and states, to gun safety advocates, victims of the shootings, both down in virginia, as well as in colorado. sportsmen's organizations, hunters, gun owners, the nra. representatives of the video game and movie industries, educators, retailers, and public health officials. and as i said, i spoke to many of you in this room as well, along with the governors and the county executives. no group was more consequential and instrumental in shaping of the document we put together that all of you in this room. those conversations, after literally hundreds of hours of work and research done by experts at the justice
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department and department of homeland security and elsewhere, after hearing just about every idea that had been written up only to gather dust on the shelf of some agency in government, a set of principles emerge that there was not universal agreement on, but overwhelming consensus on. they were the foundation of the recommendations. if you will permit me another 10-12 minutes, i want to lay out to you what they are from the perspective of the president and me. the first foundational principles is there is a second amendment. it comes with the right of law- abiding responsible citizens who own guns. the second foundational principles, certain people in
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society should not and can be disqualified from being able to own a gun because they are unstable or they are dangerous. they are not the citizens but the vast majority of gun owners comprise. 3, we should make common sense judgments about keeping dangerous weapons off of our streets. clearly within the purview of the government, at the same time recognizing, honoring, and being compliant with the second amendment. four, this is not just about guns. it is about our culture. the coursing of our culture,
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whether it is with video games, movies, or behavior. it is about the ability to access mental health services and the safety of our schools. it is a very complex problem, and it requires a complex solution. and based on these principles, and a vast array of groups and experts, we put together a comprehensive plan based on a common-sense approach where i believe, from heading this group, there really is overwhelming consensus. there are disagreements in degree, but the consensus on the principles i have laid out. we asked a number of questions. by the way, we recognize how different oliver states and cities are. -- different all our states and cities are. how different the gun culture is, held the gun culture in
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rural america than in urban america. how different the gun culture is in states that are overwhelming -- my home state of delaware. most of you probably do not realize, we of the highest per capita cohn -- gun ownership because of the accounting, the amazing tributaries that go from the delaware bay, chesapeake bay, and the various rivers that flow into the bay. it is a paradise for hunters. it is a big business, as well as institutional. it is culture. i remember all woman from delaware, the reason i got elected to the senate. she said now joey, i want to show you something my dad gave me. this was a woman who was 78 years old. she walked out in the backyard and said you know, it is the season now, right now. she said it is goose season. do not get mad. she walks into her den, takes a
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shot gun all over the fireplace. i walked out and she says my daddy told me how to steady aim, and i want a lot. if you did that in the upper east side of manhattan, you have a problem. but it is really important, because some of you who share very strong feelings about gun control. i think it is important to understand the ethic were a lot of us come from. but it is not this culture, the recognition of the differences in the cultural behavior and attitude. from arizona to new jersey. although south jersey, it is a big deal. my generic point is recognizing those differences does not in any way they get the rational --
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negate the rational prospect of being able to come up with common sense approaches or how to do with the myriad of problems that relate to gun ownership. who has that done? -- who has that gun? we asked a number of questions. the purse question we ask is who should be prohibited -- the first question is who should be prohibited from owning a gun? current law has evolved over time, and we have considered the question. my senior year in 1968 graduating was an incredible year. the only political career i ever had, bobby kennedy was her -- assassinated two days before i walked across the stage for graduation. dr. king, the one who got week engaged in politics, was assassinated earlier that year. even assassination attempt at a george wallace. it is no wonder things held
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together quite frankly. well, the congress passed what was then called the gun control act. among other things it said that felons, fugitives, drug users, those who have been adjudicated and it is not a politically correct phrase, but it is in the law, those that are mentally affected could not own a gun. 1994 as a world change in country changed, along with the thing i am proud is for having written and passed about. we added a new category of people who were prohibited from purchasing a gun. based on facts, not on fiction. that is those who had a restraining order issued against them in a domestic violence incident. that was a fight to get that added. then, two years later we expanded the list again to include anyone convicted of a
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misdemeanor violent crime, because there was some history that they were the most likely people to do something. time and experience has demonstrated we continue to take a close look at the risk to see if it fits the needs of society at the moment. it is part of our recommendation to the president to suggest the president directing attorney general to study that question. should any other people be added to the prohibited category? certain convicted stalkers can still purchase a gun. people with outstanding warrants, as long as you do not crossed the line into delaware, they can go buy a gun. people have been convicted of misdemeanors for abusing their children have now been added to the list. as all of you know, you deal with it every day.
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there is parental abuse for elderly parents. should they be prohibited? i am not making a judgment, but i am convinced we have to look at whether or not the prohibited category should be expanded. the most delicate area is the mental health area. this requires a great deal of study. this is where you find the pro- done guys to prohibit more and anti-than to say it is privacy. -- anti-gun guys to say it is privacy. these are the categories the present have the attorney general looked at. there is a second issue involved, and all of you know it. we have a thing called nix. it is a place in washington, d.c. it runs the background checks on people before they can buy guns if they are in the prohibited class. it is a little bit like if you ever have bought a gun, i purchased two shotguns, a 20
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gauge and 12 gauge shotgun. just like when you get a credit card, if the bank does not have on record exactly what you have in that account or not have in the account, then you have a problem. it is only as good as the information available. right now the information being put into that system is woefully incomplete. states are supposed to make mental health records available for people who cannot have the guns. today there are 17 states that have made fewer than 10 mental health records available on the background check system. 10. there are tens of thousands of
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felons the estimate is, who are convicted in your cities and states. that information is never transmitted to the system. so we recommend to the president that he redirect, because no one knows for sure whether or not it is an illogical judgment they are making or an economic issue. so we asked the president to redirect $20 million to the states to help them update the records and make them available. he has decided the justice department should do just that. money only goes so far. a lot has to do with leadership. again, i apologize for being parochial. i will always be a senate tie and a delaware guy, but i am very proud of our home state. delaware has moved from one of the worst-performing states to
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one of the best performing states as a consequence, at least as rated by the mayor's against gun violence. it is about leadership. it is about making the decision to make this available. i know you folks have a lot of influence in your states. that is not quite true. [laughter] i have a bad habit of being straightforward. the truth is you did not have nearly as much influence and she should have in your state. all kidding aside, i would ask you to continue to push the legislatures, governors to make the record available. i am not suggesting there is any nefarious reason why it is not being done, but it is not done. i would also ask you to think about whether or not we should consider making the record sharing it mandatory. as a matter of law. or do you think the president incentivizing states
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information is enough. we would like to hear from you on that. one of the things we have learned is the federal government has not been doing a very good job in the past 10 years either about sharing information available. so, the president issued a directive order like everyone got all of an arms about. one of the executive orders was he directed every agency to make sure we live up to our end of the bargain to share relative information within the lawful possession of the government to that system if it contained people who should be disqualified as a matter of law. one to figure out the pieces, there is still another broader point. that is systems identify people who should not, not only cannot but should not possess guns only works if it actually prohibits those people from
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purchasing guns. that is why we need, and i would recommend to the president, universal background checks. [applause] study showed up to 40 percent of the people -- because of the lack of the ability of federal agencies to be able to keep records, we cannot say with absolute certainty what i am about to say is correct. but the consensus is about 40% of the people who buy guns today do so outside the background check system. right now someone purchased a gun from a licensed dealer, he
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is required to undergo a background system which takes a matter of minutes. he divide that exact same gun from a private seller with no background check at all. that is change. think about it. imagine you get to the airport and there are two lines for security. one of them you have to go through the metal detector, take off your shoes. the other one you could go straight through to the plane. where are you going to go? especially if you are carrying something you're not supposed to? which line the you think the terrorist picks? the same thing about gun sales. why would a criminal by a gun at a store where he is required to do a background check, or at a gun show from a licensed dealer where he is required to go to the background checks when he can buy a gun from the guy the next booth over were has a sign that says no background check required? i will not go into detail for why that is the case because it
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is the definition of what constitutes a best-seller. -- a gun-seller. so why would we not do everything in our power to stop that? whose rights are being infringed on? the lawful citizen, the guy who has nothing to hide or woman that has nothing to hide goes through the system. virtually no complaints. even with an incomplete system, there are almost 2 million convicted felons, adjudicated, mentally incompetent and the rest of the categories i have just mentioned denied the ability to legally buy a gun. so it makes no sense to me, especially since when i wrote the original assault weapons ban there was a 12-day waiting time and a six-day waiting time, and then the nra said something that i agree with. they said we will not object if you can do this quickly. so we invested a lot of time,
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money and effort into setting up the system. by the way, i want to sell you might 12-gauge shotgun which has not been used much lately. i want to show you -- seljuk the shotgun in my home. it is not a big deal to take another 20 minutes to go to sporting goods and they will run the check for us. it is the inconvenience. it is not an inconvenience relative to the potential whole it they plug in the system. we can make exceptions if i want to leave my guns to my son who knows how to use them -- a better shot than i am because he is a major in the army. my other son hunter is better, too. we may be able to write exceptions into handing down guns to family members. but there is no reason why we cannot significantly broaden this.
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to try to pick up the pool of roughly 40% of the people who buy a gun without any background check. the third question we ask is what kinds of guns should be kept off of our streets? some purists say wait a minute, you could take any that you want off the street. not true in my view and the second amendment. others will say you have no right to take any cut off the street. because as jefferson said, the tree of liberty is water with the blood of patriots. you hear it all the time. guess what? no one doubts you were able to tell someone you cannot go by an m1 tank. you cannot have a flame thrower. so it has been established, there is the ability to have
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legitimate limitations on the type of weapons that can be purchased. towards the end we looked at two issues, a definition of assault weapon, anti-capacity magazines. the president believes there should be, new and stronger assault weapons ban. i know the industry will do whatever it can to get around it and they will figure out a way. we can define the stock, scope and a lot of things, but they can get around it. i also know we have to try or believe we have to try. what i also know is assault rifles are not the only kind of gun that can accommodate high- capacity magazines. some of you are big game hunters. i am being literal. most of the weapons used, rifles can take clips that can
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accommodate 30, 40, 50. you do not, but they can accommodate it. we recognize the weapon of choice in your town also is not a rifle. the weapon of choice in the vast majority of people who were killed with a handgun. you could put a lot of rounds in the glock and the other hand and weapons. we're calling for the prohibition of high-capacity magazines all together. we can argue whether or not we are right at 10, 12, 7, 9, or 15. we know it makes no sense. like we have learned since columbine, newtown, police reached the seen it in incredible *. local officials have done incredible jobs and reducing the response times to crises.
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but high-capacity magazines leave victims with no chance, and all too often we police outgunned as well. in aurora he had a 100 clipped magazine. had his weapon not jammed, god knows how many more people would have been killed. i met with gabby giffords has been the other day, and he pointed out to me when she was shot, you know this better than i do, when she was shot, but for the death that the assailant had to put in a clip and fumbled and a woman jumped out and grab him, prevented him from putting a new clip in.
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the new congressman who was injured and shot probably would not have been around to tell the story. so in newtown, some of those children were riddled with 11 bullet holes. high-capacity magazines are not worth the risk. [applause] high-capacity magazines do not have a practical sporting purpose or hunting purposes. as 100 told me, if you have 12 -- as one hunter told me, if you have 12 rounds, it means you have already missed the deer 11 times. you should pack the sucker and go home -- as a hunter told me.
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think about it, you will hear, for sporting at gun ranges. i do not know why we cannot say those weapons should not be kept at the range if that is what they're for. make that judgment. without any way impacting on your sporting enjoyment. the next question we ask is how we make our streets and schools safer? with regard to our streets, i believe and the president believes that cops make a difference. i remember when i first wrote the cops bill. i was told we tried that before. we never tried that before. [applause] i should be clapping for you all, because of past and you made it work. you may community policing work. crime and violent crime is down because of you, the way you employed those additional police officers.
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that is why it went down. that is why it happened. we still think, for to relate in these economic difficult times for you all, we want to provide state and local governments with the resources they need to keep cops on the street, even during the hard economic times. [applause] by the way, michael said and joe will make sure these programs go directly to the cities. i went like that. i tried that with the recovery act, but i tried it with cops and it worked. cops it worked. here is the deal, if you do not think you should find yourself in a position for having to cut funding for law enforcement in order to pay for services, we think you would agree with us that we are want to come back
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at it again and push again for another $4 billion in grants for cops. [applause] it is important. thank you. i do not want anyone confusing that with the argument that every school in america should have armed guards and armed teachers and armed principles and the like. in the original cops' bill as we wrote it there was a provision for school resource officers. i admit to you when i wrote it the first time, i was not thinking of mass shootings, but what i was thinking about was the same principle of community policing. the reason why community policing works is you get your local law-enforcement officers acquainted with and it culminated in the neighborhood
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where they build trust. so mrs. jones on the corner who was watching the drug deal go down every night and seeing shootings and having her window blown out a couple of times, she is going to pick up the phone -- she is not going to pick up the phone and call city hall. she is afraid. if she has a relationship with the local cop, she will say charlie did not say anything but let me tell you what is happening on my corner. the same thing happened with school resource officers. what happens is they stand in his school armed or unarmed in uniform and the kids get to know him and they think it is cool talking to them, and it is like talking to your coach. what we found out, kids say things like john, when i opened my locker of this morning, three lockers down, 47, there was a handle of a gun sticking out. john, do not say anything, but there is a drug deal going to go down in the back of the gym today.
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john, there's going to be a rumble. toe is what we're want propose. we believe school resource officers play an important role. but that you should have significantly more flexibility in how to use them. that is why we are proposing a new school safety program that funds officers, but also gives your communities the flexibility to apply for other support. so school resources officer will cost you a certain amount per year with the money the federal government is putting up. you can see we would rather have a school psychologist, or we want a school resource officer who was unarmed. what we do not want, we do not want rent a cops, those who are not trained like police officers.
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we are not insisting schools use police officers. if they conclude they need a school psychologist, you can apply for the funding that would otherwise, for that purpose. we will also make sure every school has a reliable emergency response plan. i know i am preaching to the choir when i say you have not been the idea how many school districts all across the country have picked up the phone and call my office and said can you tell us what the best plan is it something like this happens? one of the few things the federal government can do well is figure out what best practices are. by going around the country taking the information from you, deciding what best practices are, and then going out to say look, congress has funded the creation of the plans. school districts who want to
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take advantage of them, here they are. we are asking the congress to fund the, to fund the safety implementation programs. the next question we asked was how can we improve access to mental health services so people get the help they need before it is too late. we look at the circumstances when people age out of medicaid. you got these kids getting mental health services. all of a sudden they age out of there is nothing there. nothing they can do. the social worker or social worker like my daughter where she worked for the state and now she works for a non-profit. all of a sudden, what are we going to do? kids still need help. he has aged out. we're looking for the warning
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signs to refer them on. less than half the children with diagnosable mental health problems ever receive treatment. we need to change that. i am proud to say we are already positioned better than we ever had in history of the country to make great progress because of the affordable care act. [applause] and because of the leadership of republican senator the medici and ted kennedy on mental health parity. we have to get this nation to the point, and that is where we will speak to this in a second, where in fact a mental health problem receives the same credibility and coverage with a doctor or psychiatrist as when someone breaks their arm. by the way, parenthetically as my son who is an iraq veteran, we have a lot of women and men coming home with an visible
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injuries. -- in visible injuries. over 19,000 will require help the rest of their lives. i spent all last night at walter reed meeting with the number of entities that are on floor now are down. spending all night with the kids that are double amputees. there is another category of people. we do not know the number, but we know it is significant. traumatic brain injury. the invisible disease. the invisible illness. with post-traumatic stress. a man would be mad at me if i gave an example of a case, but there is a lot of veterans coming home having trouble. the suicide rate is astounding.
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almost one a day. almost one a day, because there is not sufficient mental health capacity in the system. we're doing everything to go out and hire 78,000 of folks, but the point is we have to go out and deal with this. the question we asked was, how? how to do that? that will take more time. we have concrete answers we will make available to you. what we think on how to begin the process. the next question we asked folks was have you prevent gun trafficking? -- how do you prevent gun trafficking? the bane of the existence of the seven biggest cities in america. -- how do you prevent gun trafficking? it started with creating a federal trafficking statute for guns. we have one for drugs. but there is no federal traffic for guns. [applause] a substantial percentage of the gun crimes committed in your
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town are committed with weapons purchased outside your state or city. in illinois, 47 percent of the guns recovered at the crime scenes were purchased outside of the state. in new york, 68%. the only way to stop this is a federal trafficking statute. we recommend to the president that he call on congress to pass a statute, and he agreed. some of those guns are bought by people who passed the required background checks to buy weapons for others. maybe they give them to a man- to-man the transports them from florida to new york or one state to another, but there is not an explicit law against purchasing. straw purchasers and others are often out of the prosecuted patchwork and paperwork. the only way you pick them up is
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to make a paperwork violation. you know as well as i do how many guns are unaccounted for. we need strong federal laws to help us attack this. finally, and i know i've taken a long time, but this is something so many of you spent a lot of time talking to me about and i want to give it straight to you. we asked what can we do better about understanding gun violence? some of you know when the crime bill i authored in 1994 expired, including the assault weapons ban in 2004, one of the things we were able to do back then in 1994 was right legislation that allowed us to gather a considerable amount of information. the cdc was able to conduct research on gun violence. so we can figure out some basic things about the causes and uses.
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not only did the congress not renew the assault weapons ban, it also put significant impediments on federal agencies who were doing basic research and explicitly prohibited -- cdc is prohibited by federal law from doing any research. there is a whole set of amendments that were added that further constrain the ability to gather data. we need answers to a lot of questions. we need better understanding of the causes, longer-term independent studies to determine not only the impact of guns and how people died and what types of guns and so on and so forth, we need studies, and this is where the entertainment industry does not like me at all, we need studies are what i urge the impact and young minds witnessing repetitive fi acts, either on television, movies, or video games.
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[applause] that is not an indictment of the industry. it is the recognition we have no expensive modern studies on these things. it is worth pointing out from my conversations with these industries, they seem intent on doing what they can do to help. they have a rating system that the vast majority of americans do not even know. if your child watches the early morning cartoons on saturday that have excessive violence in them, these are cartoons, you can actually program your television to take out extreme violence, moderate violence, violence. you can do it now. 90 percent of the parents have any idea of that. -- do not have any idea of that.
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quite frankly we do not have sufficient data. it seems to me and informed society needs data. so the president signed a directive that allows the cdc to begin gathering that information again, and i think that is a very important step. let me conclude by saying once again thank you. thank you for not only all you did to contribute to this report, but thank you for allowing me the opportunity to come and be as explicit and long and hopefully not -- possibly boring in laying out to you the elements of what we believe we have to look at. and let me acknowledge the truth, that too many in this country have been silent too long. we cannot -- [applause] we cannot be silent any longer. those 20 beautiful children who lost their lives are no longer able to speak for themselves. we have to speak for them.
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900 people who lost their lives in the city streets of your cities to gun violence since newtown are not able to speak for themselves. we have to speak for them. those more than 9000 lives lost to gun violence in our cities each year are no longer able to speak for themselves. someone has to speak for them. some say the most powerful voice in this debate belongs to the gun lobby's and those that demand a stop to these common sense approaches to save lives. i think they're wrong. this time will not be like the times that come before. newtown have shocked the nation. the carnage on our streets is no longer able to be ignored. we are going to take this fight to the halls of congress. we are going to take it beyond that.
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we are going to take it to the american people. we will go around the country making our case, and we will let the voices, the voice of the american people be heard. we will be criticized, because people say we're spending that much energy, we are not spending enough energy on immigration, not enough energy on the fiscal problem -- look, folks, presidents do not get to choose what they deal, they deal with what is before them and then what it would like to. all of these things in our relate. i once asked the former mayor daley of chicago in the early 1990's. i said if there is anything i can do for you, what would you do? he said get rid of the drug problem. it would transform the economy of my city overnight. gun violence falls into a similar category. if we speak for those we lost, if we speak for our children and families, if we have the
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courage to new -- to do what we know is the right thing to do, then we will have the most powerful voice, and we, citizens will change the nation. i have been in this fight for a long time. i have no illusions about the fight that is in front of us. i have no illusions about distortion that will come from all sides, but i know full well the political obstacles that will be thrown up against this are not impenetrable. i have no illusions about how hard it will be, but i know this, we have no choice. we will not be able to look our kids and grandkids in i if we do not use every energy, every fiber in our being to try to keep them safer. i will not be worthy of the generation that will grow up now without those 20 kids and the thousands of people already lost.
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we will not be able to stop every act of senses -- senseless pilots, but that is no excuse to do nothing. that is not an excuse to do nothing. as the president said, if we can save even one life, it is worth it. i believe together we can save a whole lot more lives than that. and i think we can begin again. not because of guns of loans, but i think we can begin an endeavor that stops the coursing of american culture and society. i think we can begin to turn this around. it is not all because of guns. there is a lot of other things. but maybe what happened in newtown is a call to action about more than just gun violence, about civility in our society. i think you all. -- i thank you all.
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you are on the front lines, and you were on the front line -- and god bless you all and all those that have been evicted as a consequence of this senseless violence. thank you for your time. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> this weekend is the 57th presidential inauguration. president obama begins his second term. the officials wearing in a ceremony on set a -- on sunday.
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monday, the public inaugural ceremonies with the swearing in at noon followed by and let the president at capital than the parade down pennsylvania avenue. our live coverage begins on monday at 7:00 a.m. eastern. monday is also martin mr. king day. fifth graders from a washington, d.c. school gathered at the lincoln memorial to read the civil-rights leaders i have a dream speech. >> i have a dream that one day this nation will rise. the whole of these trees to be self-evident that all men are created equal. -- we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. >> the sons of former slaves and former slave owners will sit down together at the table of brotherhood. >> i have a dream that one day
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even the state of mississippi, sweltering in the heat of a precipice and injustice, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. >> i have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of the skin but the content of their character. >> i have a dream that one day, down in alabama with its her vicious racism, one day little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers -- as sisters and brothers. >> i have a dream today. i have a dream that one day --
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>> and the glory of the lord shall be revealed. this is our hope and the faith that we have. this is the hope and the faith i go back to the south with. >> we will be able to create a stone of hope. we will be able to transform the discourse of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brother and the. -- brother hood. the will be able to work together, and pray together, stand up for freedom together knowing that we will be free one day. and this will be the day when all of god's children will sing
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with new meaning. >> my country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. let freedom ring. >> america is to be a great nation, this will come true. >> let freedom ring and the mighty mountains of new york. and the allegheny of pennsylvania. fromthe snopw-capped rockies of colorado. -- from the snow capped rockies of colorado.
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and the the stone mountains of georgia. let freedom ring from every hill in mississippi. from every mountainside, let freedom ring. and when this happens, freedom will ring from every village, every state and every city. we will be able to speed up that day with all of god singildren join hands and in the words of the old negro spiritual. free at last, free at last, thank god almighty, we're free at last.
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[applause] >> on tomorrow's "washington journal," the surprising truth about violent video games. in a conversation with a gun rights with an author. and the number of americans dipping into their retirement savings before they retire. "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> stephen benjamin in his first term as the mayor of columbia, south carolina. good morning. thank you for being with us. and mayor scott smith, a republican now in his second term from mesa, arizona. give us a quick snapshot of your city, where things stand, what you are facing as you embark on your second term. guest: the good news is there is
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no more really bad news. we sort of hit the bottom of year and a half ago. ever since then, it is been a slow but steady improvement. arizona at the bottom when foreclosures and we got hit in one of the worst ways in the housing boom. but we're coming back. our city revenues have increased year over year after about a three or four year slide. we are still hovering around 8% unemployment because of the decimation of the construction industry. but we are like a lot of the country. we are in that study l -- steady lull looking for that nump. we are very much aerospace tourism. we have a big boeing plant. we have a large airport.
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but we look at things like sequestration, it has a huge impact on us. >> the tax structure. where does the money come from? guest: we are a self attacked driven budget. we have no primary property tax. we survive on state shared revenue, mainly self taxes also. when consumer confidence goes down, we tend to have the roller-coaster economic effect. host: mayor stephen benjamin, a quick economic overview of your city, away your tax structure comes from and who are your largest employers. guest: colombia as a capital city. we are the home to the
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university of south carolina and a large hospital system, our largest employer. also home to fort jackson. we have a relatively sensitive tax structure. it sees about two-thirds of our real estate. our primary revenues come from our property taxes and business license fees. the last two years, we have wat ched unemployment decreased to 7.4%. last year, about $1.1 billion in regional economic investment. focusing on investing in the urban core and supporting the suburban and rural areas. host: with so much talk about the debt and deficit, cities
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often do that by floating bonds. explain how that works in arizona and what that money is used for and how it is paid off. guest: we do not go into debt to cover deficits. most cities have to balance their budgets. we hit our fiscal cliff three or four years ago. we had to figure out on a cash basis to balance our budget. we used large amounts of debt to finance infrastructure. streets, police stations, some were, walker, those kinds of things. one of the great challenges we have is that these are financed with tax-exempt municipal bonds. taxes and financing pays for most of the infrastructure in this country. hundreds of billions of dollars. one of the proposal that does not seem to want to die is to
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somehow tinker or eliminate the tax status of municipal bonds. this is extremely important to us. it does not selma a sexy issue. you are talking about the basic financing temperature -- of the structure of cities and states. -- it does not sound like a sexy issue. you are talking about the basic financing infrastructure of cities and states. guest: he has been one of the greatest proponents of infrastructure. and making sure that the primary financing mechanism we use, 75% of the nation's infrastructure, is municipal tax and bonds. we are talking about hospitals, school buildings, public power
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systems. understanding that, of this tool that we are using to finance this infrastructure, is significant as we seek to comply with the epa. the burdens they are placing on local government. this is not some rich man's issue that has emerged over the last years. the exemption of municipal bonds have been as -- around 100 years. local and state governments do not tax interest on federal debt. the federal government does not tax interest on municipal debt. that relationship is so important. it does become a reliable becomeial tool -- it has
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a reliable financial tool. we have become good stewards using this tool to build and rebuild america. and the structure is going to be a key way to put americans back to work -- infrastructure is going to be a key way to put americans back to work. the discussions around the fiscal cliff and tax reform and the sequester, it is set aside -- sacricite and important to each of us. host: we will hear from vice president biden in a few minutes. we want to hear from you. our phone lines are open. you can also send an e-mail or join us on our twitter page. let me ask you both about what is happening in other cities. scranton, pennsylvania, harrisburg. these are older, aging cities and.
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-- cities. discussing the possibility of bankruptcy. what do you apply to your respective city? guest: scranton, harrisburg, san bernadino, these are the exceptions. we are at a fairly good financial shape. we have had significant challenges but we have met the challenges. reality, the biggest challenges we have our the same as the lock others. that seems to be the one factor of many of these cities. host: if he were to draw the pie, how much goes to a pension? how much is taken off the top before you can do anything? guest: in most cities, 70% plus
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goes to public safety or more. 70% or more goes to [indiscernible] in arizona, we are lucky. we did not run our own plant in mesa. we have a state wide pension plan for most of our employees. that seems to be our biggest long term financial crisis for cities. those situations are very rare. the vast majority of the thousands of cities and towns in america are financially solvent and have a great future. from let's go to thomas illinois. an independent line. good morning. caller: good morning.
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my comment is relative to poke to both finances -- guns and finances. -- legalizing marijuana would remove guns from the equation away fromthe gangs the equation. it would also make you guys so happy on what legalizing marijuana would do to your financial income of their municipalities through taxes. people who choose to buy the marijuana instead of growing it. one of the biggest reasons people are afraid of law enforcement or not respect law- enforcement is because law enforcement is the ones that are busting people for smoking their gentle remedy instead of detoxing alcohol and
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pharmaceuticals. people are very sick of the politicians in bed with the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies. that is why marijuana is illegal. they want people buying booze and pills. host: let me go to the larger issue of guns and gun violence. >> it will not be able to act every senseless gun violence. we know that in the future. that is no excuse to do nothing. that is not an excuse to do nothing. as the president said, if we can save even one life, it is worth it. i believe together we can save a lot more lives than that. i think we can begin again, not because of guns alone but we can begin an endeavor that stops
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it. we can begin to turn it around. it is not all because of guns. there are a lot of other things. in maybe what happened in newtown is a call to action host: stephen benjamin, the mayor of south carolina your thoughts. guest: i've operated on the motto that silence means sense. host: we did get marion and guns in the same. guest: i will say this and i'm going to speak directly to this
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issue, i have learned being a good steward of taxpayer dollars they will give you great latitude if you show you count pennies. we finished last year with a budget surplus. we've been upgraded by standard and poor's and moodys. our employs are in the state pension system. we have a separate issue in which we have to make sure we appropriate for our employs and retirees and the medical benefits. we've rebuilt our reserves to almost $50 million. so you handle the money and people will give you a lot of latitude. on the gun issue, we're living in the post newtown reality right now. and there is a mood over the
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country right now that is just aching for some type of productive dialogue. and that's what we find amiss. i will tell you at the conference you have democrats and republicans who dialogue over even tough issues and work to find consensus. we are required to do that in our cities every day. it doesn't happen in our state capitol but it seems to be sorely lacking in washington, d.c. i'm a gun owner. i understand very much the importance and particularly the city in which i live and the state in which i live, it is deeply ingrained in the culture of south carolina. that being said, i understand having served warrants at my agents at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning worrying what is on the
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other side of that door and understanding we ought to be able to engage in a thoughtful, realistic dialogue in which democrats aren't worried about being primaried and republicans aren't worried about being primaried. host: i realize this is a complicated issue and we could spend hours on it. three of the principles that were outlined this week on the idea of universal background checks for any gun purchaser. support that or not? guest: if done in the right way. we have background checks. my biggest concern is we are dealing with a constitutional right so i would be very careful as to how those are undertaken. host: the idea of banning the clips that have more than ten bullets. support that or not? guest: i would like to have a
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larger discussion on how this fits in. you can hear arguments both sides on the magazine clips. there is a good argument for banning and a good argument for saying this sends us down the slippery slope. i'd like to have these conversations in a larger context. guest: i don't know if ten is the magic number or five or twenty. i know that being a concealed weapon permit in the past. the rules are followed by the good guys and not the bad guys. so we have to allow responsible gun owners to have some latitude whatever the government decides to do. host: other than the n.r.a. leadership who is against background checks when buying a gun? guest: background checks already exist. but we're talking about an expansion and i understand why
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people get a little bit concerned because we are talking about a constitutional right. i think where we are headed is we will have a real discussion. i hope the discussion does not move to the extremes and we can have rational reasonable -- because gun owners in this country, you have millions of gun owners who are law abiding citizens who value the second amendment. arizona is much like south carolina, there is a cultural thing. these are law abiding citizens and they are concerned about one step that takes away rights leads to another leads to another. hopefully we will have a deep discussion on this and see if expanding those background checks can be done in a way that still maintains valued second amendment rights. the host: the issue of mental health and i'm wondering how as a mayor you deal with mental health issues in columbia? guest: we've seen state budgets cut left and right and the cuts
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to our mental health agencies have been deeper and they go without significant ink in the newspaper. people don't pay as much attention. so the impact it has on homelessness and crime, it's real and it's significant. host: is there still a stigma in dealing with mental health patients? guest: i'm not sure if it's a stigma. i think it's become so much more complex and tougher. but we have some agencies in our city, we have a mental illness recovery center that has been able to really show that given the time and resources and the proper medical benefits, we can take some folks who have wandered the streets for years dealing with some serious mental health issues and turn them into productive citizens. it can be done.
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it requires us making a focus and proper value system, we have to fund that value. guest: i think one of the biggest problems we have and one of the biggest challenges i'd like to say, even when you look at newtown and aurora, those were driven by mental health issues. these were not normal people that decided to be relevant by picking up a gun. but the focus has been on the gun and the mental health has been a postscript. i hope it rises to the level of significance where we talk about funding those resources. many times the mental health officials are our police officers and firefighters because we do not give these problems the funding they really deserve. and one of the results of that is we end up with some of these tragedies.
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host: crime rate in mesa, arizona, what was it? guest: i can't remember but we've had a significant drop in our violent crimes. host: and columbia, south carolina? guest: we are down. violent crime is down 23%. and in some hotspots we've been working on, we've rebuilt our police force, fully staffed for the first time in 15 years under a new dynamic chief and we continue to invest in law enforcement. host: why is it so high in chicago? guest: i think mayor emanuel would love to have that answer. we have violence in this country and in most large cities it's a huge problem where you have youth on youth violence. it's not the same as newtown but
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it's troubling. mesa is a big city. we're the 30th largest city in the country. we still don't experience the day-to-day things they do in chicago but we have those issues. but our cities have a problem with violence and mostly it's youth on youth violence which is really sad. and that doesn't seem to get the headlines that a newtown does but it's a tragedy nonetheless. host: if you're just joining us, we are sitting down with two mares in town for the u.s. conference of mares, the mayor of mesa, arizona scott smith and the mayor of columbia, south carolina, stephen benjamin. caller: good morning. to mayor benjamin, i want to say it's not ever mayor who will
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give a guy a ride to lunch who is lost in your city. i've learned a lot listening to you both. i have friends in arizona as well as living here in south carolina now and i just wonder you answered a lot of questions i thought i'd ask. but one of the things i wonder about is because this is to mayor benjamin, because you are the mayor of a significant urban municipality in this state, your presence i believe of influence is very significant. so i wonder and i'm just curious, how does that significance play over into the various other demograms of the state? because the state is in three different, you have your highland and midland and
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lowlands and living in the low land area just below columbia, i notice there are cultural distinctions even regarding gun crime. even though it's a rural area, still significant gun crimes. how does your voice speak to these other municipalities and influence nem adopting some cultural changes which he spoke of earlier about gun violence being a cultural issue. host: we want to hear that story but we'll get to that in a little bit. guest: i take my role as mayor very seriously understanding if we have the benefit of not being a massive city like chicago and new york. if i need to i can touch everybody i need to touch on an issue if i had to.
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but if we do something, we do it right. we have the ability to affect things what happens. my family is in orange town 45 miles away. we can serve as a leading light. but we are the vibrant urban core, the place we hope to have talent and jobs as serve as a magnet. i see my role not being leader of my city but hopefully serving as a model for the rest of the state to follow. a lot of our more rural communities have faced significant challenges. we are just off i-95 where the ref rand is calling from is half way between miami and new york. so some of the gun challenges have cartel and drug trade is very real in south carolina. that's why we have to do everything we can to don't
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invest in good strong law enforcement, good have good immigration policy that focuses on our southern and northern border and east and west coast that can be just as porous as the southern border. host: what was the story? guest: the reverend was new to town and just took a new job. he was walking by the post office and we started up a conversation and told me he was walking to a restaurant on that street. it was about a mile away and he didn't know . that i threw him in the car and we road on down to the restaurant and just had a great chance to have a conversation. i didn't tell him who i was until he was about to get out of the car and we were trading information. he's a cool dude.
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host: scott smith is the mayor of mesa, arizona. he earned his law degree from arizona state university. and stephen benjamin. our next call you are is from california republican line, good morning. caller: good morning. i've enjoyed your conversation so far. i haven't seen a republican and democrat is it together and get along this well ever especially on the gun issue. in california we have strict laws. there is no gun show loophole. you can't buy internet purchases but through a licensed holder. there is no private third party transactions that can occur.
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if you do, you risk state housing at the state for five years. so california does have some very strict laws. i think most people in the nation if you go to some internet site that is you can buy, many of them won't even sell to the state because of the regulations are so onerous besides the price, you can easily just be walking into a gun store. which typically an incentive on a used gun buy is you can often find what you want for a lot less used. host: thanks for the call. i want to go back to his point and the two of you sitting together a democrat and republican. how do we view congress?
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guest: i tell people the difference in the city level and state and congresses, there is no doubt there is different political philosophies. we won't agree on everything. but what happens when you're in the city council meeting you start talking about a problem and you focus on the problem and the philosophies and ideologies come up during the discussion. when you're in i don't think you start talking about ideology and you might get to the problem. that's a big difference in what we deal with and what congress deals with, it seems to be more of the game of proving who is right and wrong. you don't get that at the city level. we realize we may have a different approach but we focus on the problem. we don't get to kick anything down the road. when the pothole is there, it's got to be filled t garbage has to be picked up. that's why i enjoy being around mayors because we focus on
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solutions. we are very much solution driven people. we seem to have lost that at the state and national level. that's why we continue to have crisis after crisis. it doesn't seem congress will get to a solution unless they are forced to and even then it's a half solution. where they set up a mechanism to force themselves to make a decision because the consequences were so bad and then they still couldn't make a decision. i think that's unfortunate because we deserve to have solutions. this is not a zero sum game. we need some decision makers. we are not seeing that out of washington and that's frustrating. host: the second point dealing
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with guns and gun violence. there is a related tweet to that saying -- guest: going back to scott's point again, the focus on problem solving, the reality is that our organization is a bipartisan non-partisan organization. i am a democrat, i want to make it clear that we run non-part san elections in south carolina. that's the way we run our cities, we focus on getting things done. there are some issues that i know that scott and i may be completely ideological but there is a big difference between i'd logic and understanding the importance and the respect that you can give others, understanding that reasonable
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people can see the very same issue very differently and be able to is it on the balcony and look down and understand you can respect different people's point of view. but you have to achieve some type of consensus in getting things done at the end of the day. people are clamoring for bipartisan solutions and we hope and pray that our congressional leaders can find that. i have a wonder relationship with my delegation on both side of the aisle and we will continue to push the agenda of america's cities. we have some significant cultural problems in america. regrettably cultural violence that i'm not sure anyone can put their finger on what the cause of it is. i will say this, our children are growing up in very perilous times right now.
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and the change in the nature of the american family and children who are growing up now who for the very first time in american history our children are expected to be less literate than their parents. my parents taught me every generation is supposed to build on the last generation. children are going to jail and dying. children are worrying about issues i didn't have to worry about as a child, shelter and safety and nutrition. if we don't continue to invest in the education and safe and health of our kid, we are going to continue to deal with issues that all the laws in the world won't fix. host: we are with two mares here t mayor of mesa, arizona. mb south carolina home to 130,000 residents.
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a caller from new jersey is on the phone. caller: i would like these gentlemen comment on dearing to be a national list rather than a globalist. our cities are plagued by unemployment because of the trade treatments that ship our jobs overseas. we have a defense budget not ready to be audited. in cam den we have water running down the walls of our schools and nobody wants to talk about sank wears on our budgets in new jersey there are illegal ail yens. so i would pray that they will dare to bring up nationally the idea that we would protect our borders, have jobs for ourselves here first.
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host: thanks. mayor benjamin. guest: sure. we don't have some of the major immigration challenges in arizona that texas might have. but i will say this, for 200 years this american ethos, this believe that the american dream is real. people talk about the american dream that if you work hard and do the right things, you have a chance to do anything you want to do here in america. and that is a part of our country's d.n.a. as a result we are and will remain attractive to people from every nation in this world. people want to come from the south, the north and east and the west. that is a good thing. we've got to find a way to develop a national immigration policy that allows our country to be safe.
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we have to make sure we protect our borders t canadian border and the southern border. we've got to make sure that we allow ourselves to continue to attract talent. every city in the country, every company has significant talent needs that until we develop our talent pipeline here in the united states we need to continue to bring in folks from every country around the world who can meet the needs of the american people. but it's so important that underscoring every debate that we have that we don't have a complete and dedicated focus to the importance of civil rights and the human dignity and that must be the common thread that brings whatever national policy that we come up w. i will say this last thing and i will defer to scott who deals with this issue much more. we cannot allow the federal government to take its responsibility to protect our homeland and push it down to
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cities. if it's a sequester and all these questions around municipal bond t federal government loves to pass laws and then push the check down to the our local governments which means that our taxpayers have to bear that burden. that's not right. host: are you on the front lines with regard to immigration? guest: absolutely, we are ground zero as far as that goes because half of the immigrants come through arizona, the vast majority of illegal drugs come through arizona because we have become that pipeline. we deal with that issue. we deal with the cartels and so our discussion is very different because it also includes the violence of human traffic along
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with the discussion on what do we do with those people that do come to america because america is worth coming to. i hope that never changes that we are the place to want to come to. the reality is that for those who would like to just sort of put large laws around the america and say isolation. that doesn't make it in today's world. we are so connected in the world, our economy are so connected and with the internet and that type of thing, we are dealing with something we have never dealt with before. and that is the students who graduated with me said who am i going to compete with. the kits who graduate in mesa, arizona now, their executors are from shanghai and that's not something theoretical. that is real.
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the connected nature of the economies in the world means we have to look at ways to balance that thing that makes america so great which is the rule of law and having order and creating an environment where people can thrive because there is that order. but also understanding we live in a globe where we should be the leaders and have to interact. that's where our children's future are is being a part of this global economy. that's not something we can easily avoid, it's there. caller: i'm a city worker and right now i see that new york services for the mentally ill are being sabotaged because of the union and pensions. i just want to know why pensions are being blamed for everything. i play -- pay into my own
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pension. host: do you have a question or is that a statement? caller: why are pensions being blamed for the budget problems. when you pay into your -- host: thanks for the call. guest: it is just a reality. when you look at budgets and obligations there is no doubt there are some areas and some places where we've over extended our obligations. we have promised too much. you have people who have made commitments and cities and companies have made commitments that they cannot meet. that is a mathematical issue. what can we afford? that is what cities have to deal with. everyone wants to have cities that are fairly comp penn stated
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and that includes retirement benefits. that's how you attract good people and keep good people. that has to be done in a reasonable manner. i think that's where the discussion is. unfortunately, it becomes a political issue. host: what is your solution in regards to the gun cartel, the guns that come from mexico to the u.s.? guest: we were talking about gun from the u.s. that a federal government allowed to be taken into the mexico which was used to kill people. there is no doubt in this world we have an interactive gun trade. we have guns going all over the world and it is difficult to stop. that is one of the things when we realize when we talk about gun control here, the fact is that guns seem to find -- the bad guys find the way to always
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get guns, we guardless to what the rules. we have to come to the realization that simply creating a ban or eliminating this or that will not solve the entire problem. it is a much, much larger problem that demands real solutions rather than simplistic. >> final question to you, your message to congress as you fulfill your first term in office. what is it? >> guest: my message is over 90% of the america's gross domestic product happens in these cities. if you give us the tools which means don't take tools away from us. if you give us the tools we can do, we can lead this american renaissance. we have a big vision in columbia we have a big vision in columbia that